Other excavations were previously carried out in the compound. One of these excavations, in a lot bordered on the east by 3762 Street, yielded a lime pit and clusters of stones in soil that contained pottery sherds dating from the Iron Age to the Ottoman period, stamped Rhodian handles and coins from a variety of periods (Rauchberger 2010; Area A, below). In a lot situated between 3321 Street and Ben Shetah Street, a Hellenistic-period building and a Roman-period cemetery were exposed (Jakoel 2012). Remains ranging in date from the Iron Age to the time of the British Mandate were revealed in excavations conducted on the streets bordering the postal compound (Peilstoker 2000; Kletter 2001; Rauchberger 2009; Jakoel 2011; Jakoel and Marcus 2013; Permit No. A-5322).
Five excavation areas were opened: Area B—fourteen squares excavated in three parallel rows in a lot west of 3762 Street; Area C—two half squares opened along Leiner Street; Area D—twenty-eight squares opened along Ha-Do’ar Street; Area E—six squares excavated along the southern part of 3762 Street and one square that was opened at its northern end; and Area F—seventeen squares opened along 3321 Street.
Meager architectural remains ascribed to the Iron Age II and the Hellenistic period and extensive building and paving remains from the Late Ottoman period and British Mandate were exposed. Additional finds dating to the Iron Age, Hellenistic–Ottoman periods and the British Mandate were found. All of the architectural elements were built of kurkar unless otherwise noted.
Iron Age IIA. A round installation built of fieldstones was uncovered in Area E; its walls and floor were treated with three layers of white plaster (Fig. 3). A tapered sump (depth 0.2 m) was exposed in the northeast of the installation’s floor. A cooking pot rim that dates to the ninth century BCE was found north of the installation. Similar installations exposed in an excavation on Rabbi Pinhas Street in Yafo were interpreted as collecting vats belonging to wine presses dated on the basis of ceramic finds to the Iron Age IIA (tenth–ninth centuries BCE; Fantalkin 2005). Pottery sherds dating to the Iron Age were exposed in the postal compound and in the adjacent streets (Jerusalem Boulevard, Razi’el Street and Koifmann Street), devoid of architectural context (Jakoel and Marcus 2011; Jakoel 2012; Jakoel and Marcus 2013).
Hellenistic–Mamluk Periods. In places where the excavation continued down below the Ottoman-period stratum, clusters of stones, fragments of pottery vessels, glass vessels and coins dating to the Hellenistic–Mamluk periods were exposed. Area F yielded a cluster of stones, which judging by its location may have made up part of a wall of a Hellenistic-period building that was uncovered in an adjacent excavation to the south (Jakoel 2012). It is also possible that a cluster of stones exposed at the northern end of Area E came from this building, and that seven stamped Rhodian handles found in Areas A, B and E were related to activity that took place in the building.
Late Ottoman Period. Most of the architectural remains exposed in the excavation date to this period: a well-house, a building and two walls that enclosed a rear courtyard of a building, wall sections, wells and installations.
Remains of a well-house surrounded by an outer wall (thickness 0.5 m, preserved to a height of two courses) were revealed in Areas B, D and E. Part of the outer northern wall and almost the entire outer eastern wall were exposed; together with a structure at the southern end these walls formed the eastern façade of the well-house (Figs. 4, 5). A well, built of courses of ashlars, was exposed west of the structure, at the end of the eastern wall (Fig. 6). A rough residue that resulted from dripping water was noted on the well’s northern and southern walls and might indicate the use of a water-wheel (saqiye). Presumably, the three walls exposed south of the well were part of a service building used in conjunction with the well. A wall, the function of which is unclear, was uncovered c. 15.5 m northwest of well. Another well that probably provided water for the agricultural activity around the well-house was located by E. Jakoel during infrastructure work on Ben Shetah Street and documented (Fig. 7). Remains of two rooms with gray plaster floors were exposed inside the well-house. The outer eastern wall of the well-house abutted two plaster floors. A shallow channel embedded in one of the floors became wider toward the south and was blocked at its eastern end by an ashlar bonded in the wall (Fig. 4). A square lime pit and part of a circular installation that was probably used for storing liquid were exposed north of the well-house. Body fragments of jars/jugs made of brown clay and of black Gaza ware were embedded in the installation’s plaster floor. A rear courtyard of a building whose façade faced Razi’el Street was exposed in Area F. The courtyard was delimited on the east and west by two long walls built of courses of ashlars (Fig. 8). Two lime pits (Fig. 9) were revealed beneath the courtyard. A building consisting of four rooms was exposed at the southwestern end of the courtyard in Area D. In the two southeastern rooms were plaster foundations for cement floor tiles, one of which survived in situ (Fig. 10). Fragments of Marseilles roof tiles were embedded in the bottom side of one of the plaster foundations (Fig. 11). A refuse pit exposed east of the building contained a large quantity of broken porcelain tea cups dating to the first half of the nineteenth century. Part of an ashlar-built wall was exposed west of the building. It may have belonged to a building that stood on the road from Yafo to the northeast before it became a street (Fig. 12).
British Mandate. It was during this period that streets were first paved in the compound and other buildings were constructed. Parts of the well-house and its outer walls, which were exposed in Areas D and E, were demolished when the roads were paved. Also demolished were the building at the southwestern end of the rear courtyard, which was exposed in Area F, the walls that delimited it and buildings that were in its area, which we know of from just historical photographs.
In Area D, Ha-Do’ar Street was paved. It was first built of layers of plaster, broken stones and black ash (Fig. 13). The road sealed the building at the end of the outer eastern wall of the well-house; the well to its west, which was blocked with construction debris; the three walls south of the well; and a wall and refuse pit that were exposed northwest of it. A lime pit that was converted to a refuse pit was exposed below the road. The road was also identified south of the building that was exposed at the northwestern end of Area D, and that structure might also have been demolished prior to the road’s construction. The southeastern part of the road was built in a different manner, and comprised a thin layer of crushed kurkar. The second paving phase of the streets in the postal compound was done utilizing the soling method, which used a bedding of broken stones to build the roads. Soling roads were paved in Areas D and E and on Ben Shetah Street. The rear courtyard in Area F was destroyed, and a plaster floor was built over it. Sections of cinder-block walls were exposed near the eastern part of the courtyard, beyond its southern boundary. One of these walls abutted a floor built of wooden beams, which were burnt. It seems that these were the remains of warehouses. Iron water pipes and sewer pipes built of dark brown, glazed ceramic sections (Figs. 9, 12) were revealed beneath the streets. One of the pipes exposed at the western end of Area D bore a production mark of the manufacturing factory (Fig. 14).
Following the establishment of the State of Israel, the remaining parts of the well-house in Area B were used to accommodate new immigrants. The last structure that survived from the well-house was demolished sometime between 1971 and 1975, and an asphalt parking lot was paved on top of it.
The remains exposed in the postal compound revealed a marginal region that was used by the residents of the city of Yafo for extra-urban activities. The area was mainly used for agricultural purposes, and remains that were exposed of this activity were dated to the Iron Age IIA (a wine press collecting vat) and the Late Ottoman period (well-house). Presumably, the area was used for agriculture in the Hellenistic–Mamluk periods as well. The building from the Hellenistic period was probably also used for agricultural purposes (Jakoel 2012). The cemetery dating to the Early Roman period (Jakoel 2012) also indicates an extra-urban activity that took place in the compound. The final boundaries of the postal compound took shape during the British Mandate, when it was integrated into the urban fabric; the orchards were uprooted and replaced with paved streets. Dwellings and public buildings, such as a central post office, a courthouse, a police station, a bank and a movie theater, were constructed in the southern and eastern parts of the compound. Although the compound was used after 1948 for residential and commercial purposes, it did not undergo any urban development apart from the paving of streets with asphalt and resurfacing of sidewalks, and parts of it were left in a neglected state. Upon completion of the archaeological excavations, the situation changed following an upgrading of the urban infrastructures and construction of residential buildings.