The excavation area is located north of the approach road to the neighborhood. Two excavation areas were opened (A, B), c. 20 m apart. Six squares (1–6; Figs. 1, 2) in Area A and two squares (7, 8; Fig. 3) in Area B were excavated. Three construction phases ascribed to the Byzantine period (Phase A), Early Islamic period (Phase B) and Crusader-Mamluk period (Phase C) were revealed. The uncovered remains were disturbed by later construction and agricultural activity.
Phase A. Architectural remains (L528, L535; Fig. 4), probably part of a building, were exposed in Square 1.
At a depth of c. 2 m below the surface in Square 2, a stone pavement composed of different size limestone pebbles (L519, L532; c. 2.5 × 4.0 m; Fig. 5) and founded on a well-tamped layer of gray soil, was exposed. A plastered installation (0.7 × 0.9 m) was exposed on the eastern side of the square; its floor consisted of tamped gray soil and a stone mortar (diam. 0.3 m, depth 0.25 m) was discovered above it.
A section of a probably industrial white mosaic pavement (L529, L539, L540; c. 90 sq m; Fig. 6) was exposed in Square 3; it was disturbed by later tombs and construction. The square was enlarged for the purpose of examining the mosaic and the borders of the floor were located on the western and southern sides. On the eastern side, the floor was delimited by a massive wall (W108), built of two rows of different size stones without mortar and preserved a single course high. The inner western side of the wall was well-built.
A tamped floor of gray soil (L546; Fig. 7) was exposed in Sq 4, at a depth of 1.6 m below the surface. A stone mortar (diam. 0.6 m) was discovered on the floor. Virgin soil was revealed on the northern side of the square. Virgin soil devoid of finds was exposed at a depth of c. 1 m below the surface in Square 5 (L524, L531); the same soil was exposed in Sq 6, although at a depth of 2 m below the surface (L538).
The ceramic finds from Phase A included a baggy-shaped jar (Fig. 8:1) from the Late Roman period (second–fourth centuries CE) and potsherds from the Byzantine period (sixth–seventh centuries CE), including imported bowls (Fig. 8:2, 3) a casserole (Fig. 8:4), a cooking pot (Fig. 8:5), a baggy-shaped jar (Fig. 8:6) and a Samaritan oil lamp (Fig. 8:7).
Phase B. Remains of different size stones without mortar (L536), probably part of a stone pavement, were exposed in Square 1.
A section of pavement (L512; 2.5 × 5.0 m), built of different size stones and probably part of a paved road or the floor of a public building, was exposed in Sq 2.
Three pit graves (L529), oriented north–south and covered with stone slabs, were discovered in Sq 3, above the mosaic floor. Some of the pits were destroyed and they were not excavated.
A poorly constructed section of stone pavement (L521; 2.0 × 2.5 m), composed of different size ashlars, was exposed in Square 4. The pavement was delimited on the north and east by two walls (W100, W106). A section of pavement, consisting of different size ashlars (L541) and delimited on the south by Wall 100, was exposed on the western side of the square.
A mostly ruinous section of a pavement, built of different size ashlars (L513, L537), was exposed in Square 5.
Remains of a building (L534), disrupted and delimited on the south by a wall (W111), were discovered in Sq 6.
Remains of a wall (W301; length c. 3.2 m) were exposed in Sq 7. It was generally aligned east–west and built of various size ashlars without mortar; it was preserved a single course high. Building stones were scattered in the vicinity of the wall. On the northern side of the square, a stone doorjamb that probably came from an opening of a nearby room was discovered.
A wall (W300; length c. 5 m, width 1.5 m) was exposed in Sq 8. It was oriented east–west and built of different size ashlars, without mortar; it was preserved a single course high. Scattered building stones (L703–L705) were discovered on both sides of the wall.
The pottery fragments from Phase B dated to the Early Islamic period (ninth–twelfth centuries CE) and included a glazed bowl (Fig. 8:8), a cooking pot (Fig. 8:9) and a juglet (Fig. 8:10).
Phase C. Disarrayed building remains (L514) were exposed in Sq 1.
A wall (W102; length 4.5 m, width 0.85 m) was exposed in Sq 2. It was aligned east–west and built of different size ashlars; it was preserved a single course high. To its north were building remains in no particular order.
Building remains (L526) and parts of a pavement of different size stones (L507, L544; 2.0 × 3.5 m) were exposed in Sq 3.
No ancient remains from this phase were discovered in Sq 4. The excavation reached virgin soil.
Remains of a fieldstone-built pavement (L545), delimited on the south by a wall (W105), were exposed in Sq 5. The pavement probably belonged to a room that continued to the north, beyond the limits of the excavation.
Scattered stones (L511) and a segment of a fieldstone-built wall (W104; length 1.9 m), oriented north–south and preserved a single course high, were exposed in Sq 6.
The pottery from Phase C is dated to the end of the Crusader and beginning of the Mamluk periods; it includes a glazed Cypriot bowl (Fig. 8:11), a glazed bowl imported from the Aegean Sea (Fig. 8:12), a handmade painted bowl (Fig. 8:13), handmade painted kraters (Fig. 8:14, 15), a handmade cooking pot (Fig. 8:16) and a ‘grenade’ type vessel (Fig. 8:17). In addition, a Gaza ware type jug (Fig. 8:18) dating to the Ottoman period was discovered.
The Glass Finds
Yael Gorin-Rosen
Nineteen baskets with glass fragments were discovered in the excavation. Most of the vessels date to the end of the Late Roman and Early Byzantine periods (fourth–early fifth centuries CE). This group includes a selection of vessels that are well-known from other sites in the region, such as Jaleme, where the glass workshop is dated to the second half of the fourth century CE, and the Carmel Mountain sites, Horbat Raqqit and Khirbat Summaqa. The prominent vessels in the assemblage are bowls with rounded rims that are decorated with a horizontal ridge below the rim, bowls with different base rings, juglets that have a funnel rim decorated with a trail and a pinched base ring, and various kinds of bottles adorned with a trail on the neck and on the rim. In addition, two lamp bases and a bowl with a hollow conical stem, which are characteristic of the Byzantine period (L524, L537), were discovered. Several later vessels were also found. Noteworthy is a small cosmetic bottle (L521) dating to the Abbasid period, and a large bottle with a ledge-like rim (L514) that is dated to the end of the Abbasid and the Fatimid periods.
Three phases of building complexes that probably belonged to an opulent estate house were exposed in the excavation. These remains, together with the building remains and the remains of the bathhouse that were exposed south of the excavation, reflect the splendor of the site and the lifestyle in the region of the Nadiv Valley and the southern Hotam Ha-Carmel from the Byzantine until the Mamluk periods.