During August–September 2008, a salvage excavation was conducted east of the Evangelical church in Allonē Abba (Permit No. A-5506; map ref. 216350–400/737230–85), prior to construction. The excavation, undertaken on behalf of the Israel Antiquities Authority and underwritten by a private entrepreneur, was directed by I. Mitler, with the assistance of Y. Lavan (administration), R. Mishayev (surveying and drafting), A. Shapiro (GPS and identification of clay pipes), E.J. Stern (ceramics), H. Tahan-Rosen (pottery drawing), R. Kool (numismatics), Z. Horowitz (district archaeologist), G. Cinnamon and F. Abu Zidan (district antiquities inspectors) and M. Hartal (archaeological mentor).
Four half squares, aligned southwest-northeast, were opened (Fig. 1). The exposed architectural complex, which dated entirely to the beginning of the twentieth century CE—the time of the Templar settlement at Allonē Abba—was used continuously. The Templars first inhabited two locations in the region, in 1906: Allonē Abba and Bet Lehem Ha-Gelilit, following the settlement of several hundred Templars in Jerusalem and Tel Aviv in the middle of the nineteenth century CE. In the wake of Nazi political activity during World War II, the British interned the Templars in several locations, Allonē Abba (Waldheim) was one of them, out of fear they would constitute a fifth column. The British expelled some of the Templars from these internment camps to Australia and the rest of the Templars at Allonē Abba were deported to Cyprus after the Israel Defense Forces conquered the village in 1948.
The church adjacent to the excavation area was built by evangelicals in 1916 and is not in use today.
The church and the building to the south of the excavation area are clearly identified on the plan showing the layout of the lots in the Moshav’s archive. A rectangular structure is visible in the excavation area; local residents claim that the building was once a chicken coop, although it is unclear if it served as such during the time of the Templars or only later.
An enclosure wall (W104; Fig. 2) that was built without foundations and survived to three courses high was exposed along the southern square, which was farthest from the other excavation squares. The wall was built of partially dressed stones, whose smooth surface faced out. The dry construction seems to indicate that the stones of the wall were taken from an earlier Templar structure and the wall apparently enclosed the courtyard of the Templar building to the south, which is still in use today. Most of the small finds consisted of Marseille roof tiles.
The square located to the north was opened above a wall, which was revealed in the probe trenches dug prior to the excavation (W105). The wall foundation, built of fieldstone and mortar and set in a foundation trench that had been cut into the clay soil, was founded on a layer of yellow chalky material (height 1.7 m).
A more orderly built wall (W106; exposed height 0.8 m), not excavated to its foundations, was discovered north of W105. Since the walls in the square to its north adjoined W106 and because they were built in a similar manner, it is assumed that it reached a similar depth and also served as a foundation. Wall 106 was built of fieldstones and semi-dressed medium-sized stones, without mortar, arranged in two rows with a core of smaller stones. A copper imitation of a gold Ottoman coin from the time of Mahmud II (1808–1839 CE) was recovered from this square (L114). The coin is inscribed with ‘in the seventeenth year’, which is 1824/5 CE and is written in Arabic. This reproduction was used as an ornamentation or jewelry in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries CE. In addition, fragments of red clay pipes that dated to the end of the Ottoman period were found. All the finds were exposed in hard clay soil.
Most of the excavation finds came from the northern square (Fig. 3). Four walls and two stone outlines that were not walls were discovered. The main wall (W109; preserved height from base 1.8 m) was built of rows of medium-sized fieldstones and rows of small stones. Mortar was present between three dressed stones, preserved at the top of the wall, which were part of the superstructure. A later addition in the form of a stone outline was appended to the southern side of W109; it is unclear what purpose it served. A semicircular tabun (L120; Fig. 4) was discovered next to W109. An iron surface, surrounded by fieldstones, was placed on its floor. Another circluar tabun was exposed northeast of Tabun 120. It was at a slightly higher level and numerous potsherds, dating to the nineteenth century CE, were found inside it, including an Ottoman bowl (Fig. 5:1) and cooking pot (Fig. 5:2). An iron surface was placed on the bottom of this tabun as well. Wall 109 abutted W106, which continued further north. Two low walls (W107, W108), built of one or two courses, were exposed close to surface and apparently delimited the work area around the two tabuns.
The excavation had probably revealed the remains of a building, which was used for domestic work of the adjacent Templar house.