In Sounding 1 we attempted to ascertain whether additional floor levels could be identified beneath the surface reached by the original excavators. Such a possibility was suggested by descriptions left by Stekelis of a section excavated in the northwest corner of the hall, in which a floor ‘with olives’ and a further surface were reached. As it turned out, undisturbed remains could be identified only in the southwest corner of the sounding, the remaining portions having been subject to disturbance, both by the original excavators and by subsequent maintenance activities. The surviving deposits cast no new light on the function of the hall. Beneath the packed-earth surfaces and the later disturbance were patches of pavement that appear to antedate the construction of the 'Circles Building'. This pavement was apparently cut by the deep foundations of the building, here standing nine courses high. Finds were dated to EB IB. Near Sounding 1, on the far side of the east wall of the pillared hall, a section of the fine cobblestone courtyard was revealed. A probe beneath this pavement yielded a few EB II sherds, but no floor of that date was identified above the EB I remains.


The most significant finds of the season were found in Sounding 2. The probe beneath the bathhouse floor was focused on Circle VII, which had been partly revealed by Stekelis outside the bathhouse. With the removal of the mortar bedding of the bath’s marble-slab floor, which should probably be dated to the Early Islamic period, the brick walls and earth fill of the 'Circles Building' began to emerge, showing little evidence of late disturbance. The brickwork––both at the circle’s circumference and on the interior walls––was preserved c. 0.2 m high above the stone foundations. The segment revealed in Circle VII included the internal east–west and part of the north–south brick cross-walls. There was evidence for several building phases: In the latest phase the east–west brick cross-wall ran across the entire diameter of the circle, dividing it into two spaces, each consisting of two rooms. This phase was furnished with a coarse stone pavement, in which three depressions were found, one in each excavated quadrant of the circle (the fourth quadrant remains unexcavated). These depressions might have served as pillar bases. This stone floor was preceded by an earlier, more carefully laid, stone pavement. The relation of this earlier pavement  to the cross-walls is unclear. The ceramic material on both floors was of EB III date, including Khirbet Kerak Ware, but there was a noticeable difference between the northern space, which yielded a fair amount of pottery, and the southwest quadrant, where the principal finds belonged to an ad-hoc flint tool industry. Evidence for small-scale industrial use of the 'Circles Building' had been observed by the Stekelis expedition, particularly with the discovery of a potter’s kiln built on the paved courtyard. Thus it emerges that this public structure, which covered an area of some 1200 sq m, was parceled out to various artisans during EB III––clearly not the original purpose for which the structure was built.

In Sounding 3, the fine stone-slab pavement of the street bordering the 'Circles Building' on the west was re-exposed. Upon cleaning, it became evident that the original orientation of the pavement was slightly different from that of the structure. Furthermore, the west side of the street was bordered by a wall built on top of the pavement slabs. In the section excavated beneath the street, a bedding composed of material brought from the shore of Lake Kinneret––a combination of coarse gravel, sand and mollusc shells––contained EB II pottery. This bedding might represent an earlier phase of the street. The wall of the 'Circles Building', here preserved five courses high, was set in a foundation trench that cut the paved street. Beneath the trench and the gravel bedding were remains of brick walls built to a different orientation from that of the building. A floor segment that abutted these brick-wall remains carried EB IB pottery. Sounding 3 therefore shows that the 'Circles Building' was introduced into an extant urban layout, comprising orthagonal paved streets that originated in EB II. The 'Circles Building' itself was probably built in EB III, but its construction may well have involved the removal or remodeling of an earlier structure, for which we have yet to find clear evidence.