Area I
Two vaults, which differ in their construction manner, were exposed (Fig. 3). The southern vault was 1.5 m higher than the northern one and a plastered wall that was painted blue could be seen on its eastern side. The outline of the northern structure was unclear due to alluvium and fill. The western openings of the vaults were exposed and the area to their west was excavated (c. 25 sq m). A wall (W101) was exposed between the vaults. It was built of dressed, medium-sized stones and supported the pilaster between the arches. The pilaster, which protruded from its base, resembled a style of pilasters characteristic of Mamluk construction that was discovered in the fortress of Zefat and at other sites of the period. Despite the limited area of the excavation, several construction phases were discerned. The partition wall (W101) separated between two well-built spaces and was abutted on the south by a perpendicular wall (W102; Fig. 4) that was oriented north–south. Wall 102 was built on a floor of crushed chalk and tamped leveled soil (Loci 1006, 1007). On the floors was a mix of Rashaya el-Fukhar potsherds and Ottoman and Mamluk vessels; noteworthy were fragments of glazed frit-ware vessels, as well as remains of nails, pieces of iron and glass vessels. The artifacts below the floors dated to the Ottoman period and included a large pipe of red clay (Fig. 5:1), a bowl (Fig. 5:2) and a cooking pot (Fig. 5:3), which were products of the Rashaya el-Fukhar pottery workshops. A sounding cut in the floor (L1008) indicated that the floor was set on top of fieldstones and bonding material. Below the floor and its bedding was a large void, 2 m deep. The bottom part of W101 was founded on rock-cuttings in bedrock. Other walls and vaults, which supported and divided the building, could be seen in the subterranean void, which was not excavated and hence, it was not possible to date it and ascertain its nature and purpose.
Area II
The top of a wall and a collapse were exposed in exploratory trenches. The wall (W100), built of semi-dressed hard limestone, was oriented north–south and preserved, from its base on bedrock, five courses high (1.3 m). The southern end of the wall did not survive.
Parallel to and west of W100, a large stone collapse (L1001; length 7 m) was exposed. It seems that the collapse and the wall were part of an ancient building, only a small portion of which was uncovered in the excavation. Numerous potsherds dating to the modern era and the Ottoman and Mamluk periods were recovered from the collapse.
A small excavation area (6.25 sq m; L1002) that was opened on the southern edge of the collapse and beneath it revealed a wall that was preserved two courses high. Many pottery fragments were collected near the wall, dating to the Mamluk period. These included unglazed small and large bowls (Fig. 6:1, 2) and storage jars (Fig. 6:3–7); monochrome glazed bowls (Fig. 7:1, 2), reserved-slip bowls (Fig. 7:3), bowls with gouged graffiti (Fig. 7:4–6), Italian glazed bowls (Fig. 7:7), a chamber pot (Fig. 7:8), a faience vessel (Fig. 7:9) and a jug (Fig. 7:10); cooking vessels, such as cooking bowls (Fig. 8:1), globular cooking pots (Fig. 8:2–4) and deep cooking pots (Fig. 8:5, 6), as well as glazed vessels imitating Chinese wares. Many other artifacts were found below the collapse of the building and around it, including two bronze chains, beads, pins and 57 coins.
Robert Kool
Fifty-seven coins that are mostly made of bronze and copper were found, 25 of which were identifiable. While four coins dated to earlier periods (second century BCE–sixth century CE), most of the coins (17) are Mamluk folles, dating primarily from the end of the fourteenth century CE. Noteworthy among them is a group of folles that date to the reign of Sultan Barquq (1381–1398 CE). Also found was a contemporary imitation of a ¾ silver dirham of Barsbāy (1422–1437 CE). These silver coins were in circulation for a relatively short period of time (not later than the middle of the sixteenth century CE). The latest numismatic finds are four Ottoman coins that date to the sixteenth–seventeenth centuries CE.
Table 1. Coins
No. Ruler Dating IAA No.
1 Hasmonean 134–37 BCE 108885
2 Late Roman Fourth century CE 108886
3 Anastasius I 491–489 CE 108888
4 Byzantine Fifth–sixth centuries CE 108900
5 al-Salih Isma'il 1342 CE (743 AH) 108889
6 al-Ashraf Sha'ban II 1362–1376 CE 108904
7 Barquq (first reign) 1382–1388 CE (784–791 AH) 108891
8–12 Barquq (second reign) 1389–1398 CE (792–801 AH)
108894, 108897, 108903,
108906, 108907
13 Barsbāy 1422 CE (825 AH) 108890
14–16 Mamluk Fourteenth century CE 108895, 108901, 108902
17–21 Mamluk Fourteenth–fifteenth centuries CE 108892, 108893, 108896, 108905, 108909
22–25 Ottoman Sixteenth–seventeenth centuries CE 108887, 108898, 108899, 108908