Two carved stones were discovered in January 2003, while conservation work was carried out on the city wall from the Crusader period in Caesarea. The stones were examined by Y. Porath, on behalf of the Antiquities Authority, with the assistance of N. Davidov (photography) and A. Levit (drafting).
During conservation work in the northeastern corner of the Crusader city wall that was constructed during the crusade of Louis IX, king of France (1251 CE), two carved stones were discerned in the side of the wall that faced north (Fig. 1). The stones were set on two marble capitals, which were exposed, in situ, during the excavations conducted by L.I. Levine and E. Netzer in 1975–1976. The capitals were placed on top of gray granite columns, situated along the line of the northern wall of a large building that predated the city wall. Levine and Netzer suggested that these columns were the remains of a monumental gate, erected on one of the main streets of Caesarea during the Byzantine period; subsequently, it was incorporated into the city wall from the time of the Early Islamic period (Qadmoniot 11:73).
While cleaning the capitals and the stones atop them it became apparent that the side of the two stones facing north was incorporated into the city wall from the Crusader period. This side was also decorated with a carved demon, which was characteristic of Romanesque art that prevailed from the end of the 10th century until the second half of the 12th century CE (Figs. 2, 3). The demons adorned the northern facade of a magnificent building from the Crusader period, prior to the construction of the city wall during the reign of Louis IX. It is impossible to ascertain the exact date of the building without conducting an excavation; however, it is clear that it predated the city wall. The northeastern corner of the city wall was attached to the northern and eastern walls of the earlier building and the stones that protruded from the walls of that structure were combined into the city wall.
Our examination had established that (1) the building was not from the Byzantine period as previously suggested; rather, it dated to the Crusader period, sometime before the middle of the 13th century CE; (2) The northern wall of the earlier building was freestanding and the demons carved in the stone protruded out from it; (3) The city wall from the Crusader period that was contemporary with the building was located north of the city wall, which was constructed during the reign of Louis IX; (4) During the construction of the city wall from the time of Louis IX, the walls of the building stood to a minimum height of 4 m; the building was filled with earth and it is reasonable to assume that its floor and wall decorations were relatively well-preserved.