Three phases were identified at the fork in the road, c. 50 m east of the Kathisma pool (Figs. 5, 6).
The Early Phase
. A wall (W3; exposed length 5.1 m; Figs. 7, 8) aligned in an east–west direction, which probably served as a curb, was found in the northern part of the area. The wall was built of smooth stone slabs (max. dimensions 0.30 × 0.38 m), and its northern face was straightened. A surface of tamped soil and small pebbles was abutted the wall from the south. The meager finds from this surface included pottery sherds from the Byzantine period and tesserae
. It seems that these are the remains of a road that led from the Kathisma Church to the church complex at Ramat Rah
el, which was erroneously identified by its excavators as the Kathisma Church (Aharoni 1993
The Middle Phase. It seems that following the destruction of the Kathisma Church compound, the road was replaced with one that was bounded on both sides by walls; each wall served as a retaining wall for the succeeding level. The northern wall (W2; width 1.3–1.8 m) was built on top of the ancient roadbed, 1.2–2.0 m from Wall 3. The wall, which had apparently collapsed and was haphazardly renovated, was built of medium and large fieldstones that were not arranged in any proper courses. Several ashlars incorporated in the southern, outer face (max. size of stones 0.4 × 0.4 × 0.7 m) of the wall probably originated in the Kathisma compound. The northern, inner face (max. size of stones 0.35 × 0.35 × 0.67 m) remained exposed, but probably not intentionally. The core of the wall consisted of small stones and soil. After the fork in the road this wall served as the upper delimiting wall of the northeastern route. On the south, the road was bounded by a wall (W4; width 2.35–2.90 m), which like the northern wall was built of medium and large fieldstones (max. length 0.9 m, max. height of the stones in the northern face 0.55 m, max. height of the stones in southern face 0.7 m) that were not arranged in any proper courses. The northern face of the wall served as the southern edge of the road. The core of the wall consisted of small- and medium-sized stones with almost no soil. The wall probably continued after the fork in the road, where it served as the southern curb of the southern route.
An excavation square (L2) was opened along the section of the road before it split into two branches, between Walls 2 and 4, where it widened from 3.5 m in the west to 4.3 m in the east. The excavation in this square was not completed and no distinct floor level was identified.
In the late phase, probably during the modern era, a wall (W1; exposed length 11 m, width 0.75–0.90 m) was built over W2. This was a double wall built of a single course of fieldstones and ashlars that were probably taken from the Kathisma compound. Unlike W2, which was straight and aligned along an east–west axis, W1 curved from the southwest to the northeast and continued northward. This wall probably served as a curb, although it may have been meant to demarcate the boundaries of ownership plots.
Numerous tesserae, as well as pottery sherds, tubuli and roof tiles that date mainly to the Byzantine period were found in this area. A small amount of the finds is from the First and Second Temple periods and the Middle Ages. A marble slab was found. A crisscrossed pattern of delicate grooves was engraved on the unpolished side of the slab (Fig. 9:1). A limestone pounding stone (Fig. 9:2) was found as well.
A coin of Theodosius I (383–395 CE; IAA 143549) was found in the fill that covered the surface of the road of the middle phase. The coin predates the construction of the Kathisma Church, which according to historical sources was built in c. 450 CE.
A square was opened on the northern road in the center of the excavation area; only an initial cleaning was conducted. The road (L101; width 4.5–4.6 m; Fig. 10) was delineated between a row of stones on the south (W52) and an agricultural terrace wall on the north (W51; width 1.3–1.6 m; preserved height 0.83 m). Its southern face, built of fieldstones, survived two courses high.
A square was opened on the northern road in the east of the excavation area. The width of this section of the road was identical to that in Area B. The road (L202; Fig. 11) was bounded on the south by a row of curbstones (W102) and on the north by a retaining of an agricultural terrace (W101; width 1.35–1.60 m, height c. 1 m) that survived two–four courses high. Several pottery sherds, most of them dating to the Byzantine period, were found in a probe conducted in a soil fill adjacent to the northern face of the retaining wall (L203).
In conclusion, it is possible to follow the ancient road that branched eastward from Hebron Road, beginning south of the Kathisma Church compound and then splitting into two further sections. Three phases were identified in the segment before the fork in the road. It seems that the road paved in the first phase had a flat, carefully fitted curb that retained a roadbed consisting of tamped soil and small stones. This was probably the road that linked the monumental compound of the Kathisma Church with the secondary church compound at the Ramat Rahel site. The second phase can probably be ascribed to the time following the abandonment and destruction of the Kathisma Church. The church was destroyed after it ceased to function, and most of its remains were plundered. What little was left was covered with farming terraces that still exist today and are entirely planted over with olive trees. The road presumably remained along its initial route, but its design was changed and it was delimited by stone fences built on both sides. These fences fulfilled several functions: they concentrated the many stones from the area, some from the ruin itself; retained leveled farming terraces at various elevations, which covered the ruin and turned it into farmland; and delineated the public area of the road as opposed to the private areas that stretched along it on both sides. In the third phase, probably already in the modern era, a carelessly constructed field wall was erected on the northern wall of the second-phase road. It is unclear whether this wall demarcated the edge of the road or was built for some other purpose.