In November–December 2016, a trial excavation was conducted at Ramat Yishay (Permit No. A-7825; map ref. 215999–6036/734425–70), prior to the construction of a residential building. The excavation, undertaken on behalf of the Israel Antiquities Authority and financed by S. and A. Pelitz and H. Cohen, was directed by Y. Gur (field photography), R. Liran (surveying), A. Shapiro (GPS, maps and geological consultation), Y. Gorin-Rosen (glass), Y. Yaakobi and B. Zidan (administration) and Israel Antiquities Authority laborers from Kafr Manda.
Two excavation squares were opened c. 10 m apart. No archaeological finds were encountered in the northwest square (L102). In the southeast square (L101; Figs. 2, 3), graves were found at 15 locations; they were hewn into the clayey chalk layer underlying a layer of marl, a geological structure that is characteristic of Israel’s inland valleys. The denseness of the graves, which were dug close together and on top of each other, is typical of Muslim cemeteries from the Ottoman period. The uniform orientation of the graves—all dug along a east-northeast–west-southwest axis, with the face in the direction of Mecca—corroborate the identification of the interred as Muslims. Two burial spots were excavated to some depth (L103, L104; Fig. 4); the covering slabs were removed, exposing skeletal remains.
Two beads made of blue glass with a white core were found (L103, B1005; Fig. 5). They are cut and roughly hewn in three rows; in the central row whole rhomboids flanked on the top and bottom by cut-off and polished rhomboids. It is difficult to date the beads, but since they appear to be mechanically made they are probably late.
A small shaft (L107) containing potsherds, including the fragments of a jar from the Intermediate Bronze Age (Fig. 6), was found in the east of L103. These finds seem to be associated with the Intermediate Bronze Age burial cave excavated c. 350 m, at the corner of Ha-Oren and Ha-Narqisim Streets southwest of the current excavation (Porat 2008).
The orientation of the graves, their density and the beads indicate that the burial site was used mainly during the Late Islamic and Ottoman periods. This conclusion is compatible with the results of previous excavations conducted in the vicinity.
The site was also in use in the Intermediate Bronze Age, although the finds do not allow us to determine the timeframe more precisely.
Porat L. and Hanna B. 2010. Ramat Yishay. HA-ESI 122.
Raban A. 1982. Map of Nahalal (28) (Archaeological Survey of Israel). Jerusalem.