In July 2013, a trial excavation was conducted at Horbat Hadad in et-Taiyiba, located in Ramat Issakhar (Permit No. A-6840; map ref. 242413-458/723504-543; Fig. 1), prior to construction. The excavation, on behalf of the Israel Antiquities Authority, was directed by A. Mokary (photography), with the assistance of Y. Lavan (administration) and laborers from Nazareth.
aiyiba village is situated on the western bank of Nah
al Issakhar, c. 1.5 km north of Moshav Moledet and c. 3.5 km south of Kibbutz Gazit. Two ruins were recognized on the fringes of the village: Horbat Hadad, east of Nahal Issakhar, and Khirbat et-Taiyiba, to its west.
The village was surveyed in the past (Zori 1977
:90; Gal 1991
:47–49); an ancient site that included building remains and pottery from the Hellenistic, Roman, Byzantine, Crusader, Mamluk and Ottoman periods was documented. Settlement strata ascribed to the Ottoman, Mamluk and Crusader periods and two pools from the Byzantine period were exposed in previous excavations at the site (Abu Zidan 2011). Remains of a Crusader-period fortress are clearly visible in the center of the village.
An excavation square was opened in an area slated for construction c. 100 m north of Horbat Hadad and c. 200 m from Khirbat et-Taiyiba; the top soil (thickness c. 0.7 m) was removed using mechanical equipment. Part of a limestone sarcophagus (length c. 1.4 m, width 0.63 m; Fig. 2) was revealed in the center of the excavation area; its sides, parts of which survived to a height of just 10 cm, were broken. The sarcophagus was found askew (Fig. 3) and was probably ex situ. No ceramic artifacts were found that could aide in dating it; however, interment in stone coffins was commonplace during the Roman period.
Gal Z. 1991. Map of Gazit. Archaeological Survey of Israel. Jerusalem.
Zori N. 1977. The Land of Issachar: An Archaeological Survey of the Gilbo‘a Hillside, the Jezreel Valley and the Lower Eastern Galilee. Jerusalem (Hebrew).