A new section of an alley was exposed (Fig. 5), the continuation to the east and north of the ‘Drainage Channel Alley’ uncovered in 2016, which led to the village synagogue. The new section of the alley was connected in the north to the ‘Synagogue Alley’ that Hirschfeld had excavated. Several rooms were exposed north of the ‘Drainage Channel Alley’.
The shape of the ‘Southern Room’ (L7010) resembled a right-angled trapezoid (5.0 × 5.5 m), and its floor consisted of several layers of fine yellowish clay. It became clear that the eastern wall (W700; width c. 0.7–0.8 m, preserved height 0.4–0.5 m) was built atop an ancient wall (W700A; width 1.2 m), perhaps from the Early Roman period, whose top was exposed in the floor of the room.
Running the length of the southern wall (W812) that was exposed and the eastern wall (W700), which was c. 2 m west of the ‘Upper Pool’ (W119), was an alley extending north—the continuation of the ‘Drainage Channel Alley’—excavated in previous seasons. This alley connects to the alley that Hirschfeld exposed east of the pipe (Hirschfeld 2007
:75, Fig. 110).
The ‘Northern Room’ (L7011) had two openings, in the south and the north. The southern opening (width c. 1.1 m) led to Room 7010, and the northern opening was only partly exposed. The eastern part of Room 7011 was exposed, revealing that the room was T-shaped. The top of the T, which faced west (length east–west c. 9 m, max. width 6 m), had been excavated by Hirschfeld, who referred to it as the ‘Industry Room’ and as the ‘Room with Three Tabun
s’ (L3420, L3523; Hirschfeld 2007
:71). A balk remained on top of the middle tabun
inside the room. While cleaning the area near the balk, a hard, thick layer of tabun
ash was revealed. A probe was excavated to a depth of 0.8 m below the floor next to the corner of the southern wall (W813, L7012), exposing the foundation course of the room’s western wall (W628). Four more layers of tabun
ash were discerned in the sections descending the entire depth of the probe.
A room (L7013) was partly exposed north of the ‘Northern Wall’, at the elevation of the top of the southern and western walls. The area was replete with stone and brick collapse, especially in the western and eastern corners.
A few coins, pottery sherds and glass fragments were collected during the excavation and several chunks of charred wood and animal bones were also gathered. Interestingly, most coins were collected in Room 7010 and only one coin was found in Room 7011.
The nature of the architectural finds in this season’s excavation differs from that of the residential buildings that were exposed during previous seasons in the village (Hadas 2013
). The Byzantine walls that were revealed were preserved to a very low height (only 0.2–0.5 m) and the Mamluk destruction layer above them was very close to the Byzantine floors. No burnt palm trunks were discovered on the floors, nor were there any whole or smashed pottery vessels or iron nails. No installations were found during this season that characterize the residential buildings, such as cooking ovens and mortars.
This season, the eastern continuation of the ‘Drainage Channel Alley’ was uncovered. The route the alley followed from the northeastern part of the village to the synagogue, as Hirschfeld suggested (2007:73), is now clear. The re-exposure of the ‘Industry Room’, the nature of which is still unclear, was also begun. The removal of the balk above the middle tabun in the western part of Room 7011 will continue next season, as well as the exposure of the remains north of the area, which were excavated this season.