During June–July 2001, a salvage excavation was conducted in the village of Tamra (Permit No. A-3435; map ref. NIG 23825–6/72640–1; OIG 18825–6/22640–1). The excavation, on behalf of the Israel Antiquities Authority, was directed by M. Abu Fana, with the assistance of V. Essman and V. Pirsky (surveying), T. Sagiv (field photography) and M. Shuiskaya (pottery drawing).
Three areas were opened along the eastern slope of the village (Fig. 1).
Area A (Fig. 2)
Three squares were opened and parts of rooms (Loci 506–509) that may have belonged to a single building were excavated; Wall 2 was shared by all the rooms. The walls, built of roughly dressed basalt (width 1 m, preserved height 0.5–2.0 m), were partly constructed on top of the high bedrock (Loci 508, 509). A round fieldstone-built installation (L510), whose function is unclear, was exposed in Room 509. The floors in Rooms 506 and 507 were paved with basalt stones. A window was located 1 m above the floor in the northern wall (W6) of Room 507 and a raised surface (L503) was uncovered in the northwestern corner of the room; it was built of different size fieldstones and its purpose is unknown. The potsherds overlaying the floors of Rooms 506 and 507 dated to the Early Islamic period. In a later phase, the rooms were filled with building stones, fragments of pottery and glass vessels that dated to the Byzantine and Early Islamic periods. All of these remains were overlain with modern soil.
Area B (Fig. 3)
Four squares were opened c. 10 m west of Area A and rooms that apparently belonged to two dwelling units were exposed; two main phases and secondary additions were discerned in the units. The early phase was represented by rooms (Loci 534, 542–544) whose walls (width 1 m, preserved height 0.6–1.5 m) consisted of various size indigenous basalt stones that were mostly arranged in two rows with a core of small stones. An opening that led to Room 534 was exposed in Wall 19. The rooms had tamped-earth floors. The features attributed to the late phase included Rooms 532 and 538, west of the rooms from the early phase (width of walls c. 0.8 m, preserved height 0.3–0.6 m). The floors in these rooms were paved with rectangular basalt flagstones. A circular stone-built installation (L536; depth 0.6 m below floor level of room) was uncovered in Room 532. Remains of a wall (W15) whose function is unclear were exposed on the floor of the room. Wall 13 severed Wall 12 in Room 534; a refuse pit (L531) that contained a large amount of roof-tile fragments, which dated to the Early Islamic period, was discovered in the middle of the room. Fragments of pottery vessels from the Early Islamic period were found on the floors. All the rooms were found filled with soil mixed with potsherds from the Byzantine and Early Islamic periods.
Area C(Fig. 4)
Three squares were opened south of Areas A and B and parts of rooms were exposed; two main phases and secondary additions were noted. The northern room (Loci 519, 520) was partly paved with basalt flagstones that abutted Wall 8 (width 0.8 m, preserved height 1.0–1.6 m). Wall 7, probably of a later phase, was built on top of the room’s pavement, which consisted of different size fieldstones. Two walls (W9, W10) founded on bedrock were exposed in the two southern squares. They delimited a room (Loci 523/524) and were built of partly dressed basalt stones (width 1 m, preserved height 0.6 m). The tamped-earth floor of Room 523/524 was deposited on top of the leveled bedrock. A basalt vat (0.78 × 1.17 m, depth 0.45) embedded in the floor of the room to a depth of 0.5 m was exposed alongside W9. A basalt weight (0.75 × 0.80 × 0.80 m) was discovered on the floor. The vat and the weight belonged to an olive press and were probably in secondary use. The end of Wall 11 and the remains of plaster that abutted it were exposed at the northwestern end of Room 523/524, at a level higher than Walls 9 and 10; it seems that W11 was added in a later phase. Another complex of rooms was apparently located beyond the limits of the excavation area (Loci 522, 525), where a basalt pavement (L522) was exposed. The potsherds overlaying the floors dated to the Early Islamic period. All the rooms were found filled with soil that contained potsherds dating to the Byzantine and Early Islamic periods.
The ceramic finds from the excavation dated to the Byzantine–Early Islamic periods and included bowls (Fig. 5:1–3), a krater (Fig. 5:4), cooking pots (Fig. 5:5, 6), jars (Fig. 5:7–14) and a juglet (Fig. 5:15). The stone artifacts included mill stones (Fig. 6:1–3) and a pounding stone (Fig. 6:4).