During August 2007, a trial excavation was conducted beneath the foundations of a new building in the village of Sulam (Permit No. A-5195; map ref. NIG 23153–5/72358–60; OIG 18153–5/22358–60). The excavation, on behalf of the Israel Antiquities Authority, was directed by E. Amos, with the assistance of Y. Lavan (administration), M. Hartal (guidance) and laborers from the Sulam village.
The site was first excavated in 1998 and since then numerous excavations had been carried out (HA-ESI 114:26*–27*; HA-ESI 118; Eretz Tsafon, pp. 83–89).
The excavation area was located along the southwestern slope of Tell Sulam (Fig. 1), adjacent to remains that dated to Middle Bronze IIA and probably also to the Roman period (Permit Nos.
A square (4 × 4 m) was opened; a floor bedding that dated to the end of the Byzantine or the beginning of the Early Islamic periods was found, as well as two layers of soil accumulations that contained potsherds from the Iron Age.
Bedrock was a conglomerate of wadi pebbles (L7; Fig. 2). A layer of dark brown soil (Loci 5, 6) that contained potsherds from the Iron Age had accumulated on top of it. This layer was overlain by a stratum of reddish brown soil (L4) that contained potsherds from the Iron Age and several potsherds from the Hellenistic period and the Middle Bronze Age.
End of the Byzantine–Beginning of the Early Islamic Periods
Most of the excavation area was covered with floor bedding of small fieldstones (L3; Fig. 3) that was disturbed by the foundations of the new building. Part of the bedding was dismantled and the potsherds below it dated to the end of the Byzantine–beginning of the Early Islamic periods.
The floor bedding was covered with a layer of light brown soil (L2) that yielded potsherds ranging in date from the Iron Age to the Early Islamic period.
The finds indicate that the excavation area on the western slope of the tell was encompassed within the settlement limits of the Early Islamic period. It is unclear whether the area was incorporated within the limits of the Iron Age settlement, whereas the absence of MB IIA potsherds probably indicates that the excavation area was located outside the settlement limits of this period.