Nineteenth–Twentieth Centuries CE. The Rashidiya Muslim School for Boys was a two-story structure with a tile roof (14.0 × 24.5 m) that included a main wing, flanked on either side by two wings. At the time of the excavation only the two southern wings (B, C) and the southeastern part of the main wing (A) were preserved. The front of the building faced west. Engaged pillars were built in the corners of the wings and smaller pillars were constructed in the western façade (W117, W124). The building’s foundations consisted of hard limestone fieldstones, whereas the upper structure was built of dressed limestone; the walls were preserved six courses high. Arches that supported the upper structure were exposed in probe trenches, opened east of the building (L136), in the southern wing (L129) and in the main wing (L131). During the excavation of Wing B, a flagstone floor (Loci 113, 114) and two partition walls (W122, W123) that divided the wing into three rooms, were exposed. Next to the southern wall (W105) in the eastern room of the wing, a built opening of a cistern was uncovered (4 × 7, depth 6.7 m; Fig. 3). A service portal at the surface elevation was discovered in the eastern part of the cistern, which was covered with a barrel vault. The cistern was coated with two layers of plaster, the lower was charcoal-rich gray mortar (max. thickness 3 cm) and the upper—light pink hydraulic plaster; repairs of gray cement were noted. At the bottom of the cistern was modern refuse that included, among other things, an electric pump used for pumping water from the cistern. A probe excavated at the bottom of the cistern revealed a layer of hydraulic plaster overlaying a layer of tamped clay, which was deposited on a layer of stones that superposed gray soil, containing a few potsherds whose dates ranged from the Byzantine to the Ottoman periods. A cement surface (1 × 1 m) whose purpose is unclear was discovered outside the building, in the southeastern corner. Layers of fill exposed near the building and in its foundations yielded ceramic finds that dated mostly to the Ottoman period, including a handmade cooking krater of local clay (Fig. 4:19), a glazed bowl decorated with stripes (Fig. 4:20) and a Gaza-type jar (Fig. 4:21), as well as metal and copper objects, fragments of glass vessels, jewelry and beads, tobacco pipes and hookahs and sawn horns and bones (Fig. 5), which evince a bone-tool industry that operated in Nazareth. An Ottoman coin (IAA 106088) from the time of ‘Abd al-Majid (1841 CE) was discovered in the building’s foundations. Based on the historical sources and the excavation finds, the Rashidiya School was founded in the last third of the nineteenth century CE.
Crusader–Mamluk Periods. Remains of walls (W139, W145), probably the corner of a building, were discovered beneath the southern area of Wing C. The walls, preserved a single course high, were built of small and medium-sized fieldstones that were set on a foundation of stones and earth (L137). It seems that the building was destroyed prior to the construction of the school. Soil levels without building remains were exposed to the east of the building (L136) and contained ceramic finds from the Crusader–Mamluk periods, including handmade kraters (Fig. 4:6, 7), glazed bowls (Fig. 4:8–10), cooking vessels (Fig. 4:11–14), jars (Fig. 4:15, 16), a jug fragment stamped with round impressions (Fig. 4:17) and a glazed mold-made bowl fragment (Fig. 4:18). Three coins from the reigns of fourteenth-century CE rulers were discovered in these levels, including a coin of En-Nasr Hasan (1347–1351 CE; IAA 106087), Al-Ashraf Sha‘aban II (1369 CE; IAA 106085) and En-Nasr Farj (1406–1412 CE; IAA 106084).
Accumulations from the Hellenistic–Mamluk Periods. Among the ceramic finds that were discovered in the foundations of the building were a few potsherds, including a jar (Fig. 4:1) from the Hellenistic period, a jar (Fig. 4:2) from the Roman period, an imported krater (Fig. 4:3) from the Byzantine period and a cooking krater (Fig. 4:4) and a bowl slipped with paint (Fig. 4:5) from the Crusader–Mamluk periods (thirteenth century CE).
Middle Paleolithic Period. A trench was excavated below the floor of the cistern (L143), revealing a soil level (thickness 0.5 m) at a depth of 7 m below surface, which was reddish brown in color and rich in small and medium stones, some of which were flint. Ten worked flint artifacts, including cores and tools knapped in the Levallois technique, were recovered from the soil level.
Animal Bones. Three-hundred and fifty fragments of animal bones were collected from the Ottoman-period remains of the building and sixty-six fragments of animal bones were recovered from the layer of the Crusader–Mamluk periods. The bones were mostly those of sheep (Ovis aries), goats (Capra hircus) and a few cattle (Bos Taurus). The bones of horses and donkeys (Equus sp.), camels (Camelus dromedaries), dogs (Canis sp.), gazelle (Gazella), chickens (Gallus) and pigs (Sus sp.) were also identified. Cleaving marks visible on the bones indicate slaughter and butchering by man. Signs of gnawing suggest that the bones were devoured by animals, most likely dogs. The assemblage of bones from the Ottoman period included twenty-two worked bones, mostly belonging to sheep/goat/cattle and including sawn horns and bones, some of which were longs, as well as a bone button. These items indicate that some of the animal bones at the site were utilized in the manufacture of bone objects during the nineteenth century CE.