In April and May 2013, a salvage excavation was conducted along the fringes of Horbat Rosh Mayyim, at 49 Ha-Palmach Street in the Haifa neighborhood of Romema (Permit No. A-6770; map ref. 200209–32/743811–29), prior to construction. The excavation, undertaken on behalf of the Israel Antiquities Authority, was directed by H. Torgë, with the assistance of Y. Amrani and E. Bachar (administration), A. Peretz (field photography), A. Hajian and M. Kahan (surveying and drafting), D. Kirzner (trial trenches) and M. Shuiskaya (drawing of finds).
The excavation was conducted along the southern margins of the tell of Horbat Rosh Mayyim (Rosh Miyya), at the top of which is a Crusader-period citadel that was in use until the Mamluk period (Fig. 1). The hill controlled the main road leading from the Lower Galilee and ‘Akko Bay to the Carmel shore, which ran through Nahal Remez (Wadi Rushmiya).
Three excavations were conducted at the site in 1972–1974. The first uncovered the fortifications and buildings on the hilltop, dating from the Hasmonean period to the fifth century CE (Prausnitz and Ziegelmann 1972
). In the second excavation, buildings dating to the Persian and Early Hasmonean periods, an underground complex from the Hasmonean period and a building from the Roman period were exposed, and part of the Crusader citadel was cleaned (Prausnitz and Ziegelmann 1974
). The third excavation yielded a section of the city wall from the Roman and Byzantine periods (Prausnitz 1975
). Additional excavations were carried out at the site in the 1990s (A-1819, A-2089) and more recently (Massarwa 2014
Nine squares were excavated in accordance with the topography and ecologically protected flora (Fig. 2). The surface and near-surface finds included modern debris and a scant number of body sherds of Gaza ware bowls and jugs (not drawn) and a clay tobacco pipe (Fig. 3:1) that date to the Ottoman period. Under them was a thick fill that contained artifacts that had eroded down from the tell. The deposition of the layers in this sediment was chronologically reversed, as the late periods are those that were eroded first. Pottery from a rage of periods was found in it: a green-glazed bowl with trumpet-base (Fig. 3:2) and a jug decorated with a geometric pattern (Fig. 3:3) from the Mamluk period; body sherds, mainly of bowls and jars, from the Crusader and Ayyubid periods (not drawn); a Late Roman C bowl (Fig. 3:4) and a jar (Fig. 3:5) from the Byzantine period; and a lamp (Fig. 3:6) from the Late Roman period.
Three walls (W1–W3) were exposed beneath these layers of erosion in the north of the excavation area. The wall remains were badly eroded due to the steepness of the area (almost 15°); they were preserved only one course high and were built of stones of various sizes using a dry construction technique. The western part of W1 (length 4 m, width 1 m) and southern part of W2 (length 1.8 m, width c. 0.9 m) had been swept away and tumbled down toward the south. A small section of a tamped earth floor mixed with a scant amount of crushed chalk (L104) was discovered next to the collapsed stones of W2. A section of a similar floor was found in the southwestern part of the excavation area (L103). A very small portion of W3 (length 1 m, width 0.7 m) was preserved. The poor preservation of the walls and the absence of a physical connection between them prevent a full understanding of the nature of the construction.
The finds on the remains of the two floors (L103, L104) included an imported Attic bowl (Fig. 3:8), a fish plate (Fig. 3:9) and a base of a mortarium (Fig. 3:10), all dating to the Persian and Early Hellenistic period, and a jar (Fig. 3:11) and jug (Fig. 3:12) from the Early Roman period.
A high bedrock surface was exposed in the northwestern part of the excavation. In the southern part of the surface were the remains of a rock-cut (depth c. 0.2 m) installation or wall foundation (L115; Fig. 4). The rock-cutting was filled with fieldstones of various sizes and a large, roughly hewn stone with a small groove on the top. These stones might be the remains of a nearby wall that collapsed. A single indicative jar sherd (Fig. 3:7) which dates to the Early Roman period was found among the stones. The finds on the bedrock surface included mainly pottery sherds, including a bowl (Fig. 3:13), an imported bowl (Fig. 3:14), a cooking pot (Fig. 3:15) and jars (Fig. 3:16–19) dating to the Persian and Early Hellenistic periods, and an Eastern Terra Sigillata bowl (Fig. 3:20) from the Early Roman period.
The date of the ceramic finds is important in determining the chronology of the tell. The sherds in the alluvium represent all of the strata of the adjacent tell, from the Persian to the Ottoman period. As no pottery sherds date from the Early Islamic period, it seems that the site was unoccupied at that time. The latest pottery sherds discovered between the stones of the walls and on the floors date to the Early Roman period; therefore, the architectural remains should probably be attributed to this period. Neither the plan of the building nor its function could be understood on the basis of the meager architectural remains.
Prausnitz M. 1975. Haifa, Romema Quarter – 1974. HA 53:5–6 (Hebrew).
Prausnitz M. and Ziegelmann A. 1972. Haifa, Romema Quarter. HA 43:3–4 (Hebrew).
Prausnitz M. and Ziegelmann A. 1974. Haifa – Romema. HA 48–49:33–35 (Hebrew).