In December 2013, a salvage excavation was conducted at Sha‘ar Ha-‘Amaqim (Permit No. A-6973; map ref. 210013–35/736358–97; Fig. 1), in the wake of damage caused to antiquities as a result of earthmoving work. The excavation, undertaken on behalf of the Israel Antiquities Authority and financed by the Cross-Israel Highway Company, was directed by M. Hater, with the assistance of Y. Amrani (administration), R. Mishayev and M. Kahan (surveying and drawing), A. Nagorski (pottery reading), M. Shuiskaya (pottery drawing), C. Sa‘id and L. Talmi.
During the current excavation, remains of a massive building dating to the Late Roman period were partially exposed (Fig. 2). Two walls (W10, W12; Fig. 3) that delimited the structure on the south and north respectively, continued eastward and westward, beyond the excavation area. The walls, which were preserved to a maximum height of five courses, were built of ashlars, medium- and large-sized, roughly-hewn stones and a fill of small fieldstones. Between the two walls ran a long wall aligned in a north–south direction; several section of the wall were unearthed (W11, W14, W21). The wall divided the structure into two wings: eastern and western (L112, L114 respectively). Four pillars (W17–W20; average distance between them 2.7 m; Fig. 4) were incorporated in the long wall. Two other pillars (W15, W16) were exposed farther to the south; Pillar 15 was adjacent to the southern wall (W10). Six additional pillars (W13, W22–W26) ran parallel to Pillars 15 and 16, 2.5 m to their west; they were damaged by the earthmoving work that preceded the excavation. These pillars (average dimensions 1.8 × 1.9 m) were built of medium- and large-sized ashlars and were preserved to a height of three courses. They evidently served as foundations for columns that supported the roof.
The ceramic finds recovered from the fill inside the building included bowls (Fig 5:1–3) and jars (Fig 5:4–6) that date to the Late Roman period.
The massive Late Roman-period structure, of which only a small section was revealed, consisted of two wings. Its walls apparently extended beyond the boundaries of the excavation. The function of the building could not be determined on the basis of the section that was uncovered. Judging by the pillars, it seems that the building’s interior featured vaults or arches that were supported by columns.
Raban A. 1982. Map of Nahalal (28) (Archaeological Survey of Israel). Jerusalem.
Segal A. and Naor Y. 1993. Sha’ar Ha-‘Amakim. NEAEHL 4:1339–1340.