During December 2006, a trial excavation was conducted southeast of the center of the old city in Bet She’an (Permit No. A-4982; map ref. NIG 24756/71155; OIG 19756/21155), prior to the construction of an information center. The excavation, undertaken on behalf of the Israel Antiquities Authority and sponsored by the Bet She’an Economic Company, was directed by W. Atrash, with the assistance of Y. Lavan and Y. Ya‘aqobi (administration), T. Meltsen (surveying and drafting) and D. Syon (photography).
One square (4.8 × 5.6 m) was excavated south of the saraya, in the southeastern corner of Independence Park (Fig. 1). Two construction layers (Figs. 2, 3) were exposed, the earlier stratum (II) dating to the Abbasid period and the later (I), to the Mamluk period (thirteenth–sixteenth centuries CE).
. Remains a massive wall (W101; length 5.8 m, width 1.7 m), which was founded on a fill of gray soil, were exposed (Fig. 4). The wall, oriented north–south, was built of two rows of dressed basalt stones and a core of small basalt fieldstones. It was preserved to a maximum of four courses high (c. 1.4 m) and extended beyond the limits of the excavation. The bottom course of the wall (width 1.9 m) was wider than the upper courses and protruded c. 0.15 m from the eastern face of the wall and c. 0.05 m from its western face. Two fragments of limestone columns (diam. of each 0.35 m) were incorporated in the bottom course. A fragment of a limestone column, basalt stones and many potsherds from the Umayyad and Abbasid periods were discovered in the layer of fill upon which the wall was founded. Wall 101 probably belonged to a public building from the Abbasid period (eighth–ninth centuries CE). It seems that the center of the settlement from the Abbasid period, which included a large mosque, market and main street, was located in this region (HA-ESI116).
Stratum I. Two ovens (tabun; 1, 2) and two walls (W105, W106) were exposed. Tabun 1 (diam. c. 1 m; Fig. 5) was built on top of W101. The side of the tabun consisted of small basalt fieldstones, as well as mud bricks (preserved height 0.15 m). Both the floor and the side of the tabun were coated with lime-based plaster. North of the tabun and above W101, a layer of ash and gray earth, which contained numerous potsherds of the Mamluk period, was found. Tabun 2 (diam. c. 1 m; Fig. 6) was built west of W101; the western part of the tabun was located beyond the limits of the excavation. The side of the tabun (preserved height 0.7 m) and its floor were built of mud-brick material. The tabun was filled with gray soil that was mixed with numerous potsherds from the Mamluk period. Wall 106 enclosed Tabun 2 on the east. The wall (length 2.2 m, width 0.5 m, preserved height 0.7 m) was built of limestone and basalt fieldstones and its southern part abutted Wall 105 (length 1.75 m, width 0.6 m), which was oriented north–south, built of limestone and basalt fieldstones and preserved a single course high (0.3 m). It seems that the two ovens, as well as the two Walls 105 and 106, were related to a residential building, which was founded above the remains of walls from the Abbasid period.