In October–November 2005, a salvage excavation was conducted at et-Taiyiba, located in Ramot Yissakhar (Taiyiba ez-Zu‘abiya; Permit No. A-4622; map ref. 24219–22/72319–22), after antiquities were damaged. The excavation, undertaken on behalf of the Israel Antiquities Authority and funded by the South Yarden Drainage and Rivers Authority, was directed by W. Atrash, with the assistance of Y. Ya‘aqobi and Y. Lavan (administration), A. Shapiro (GPS), A. Hajian (surveying and drafting), H. Smithline (photography), D. Sandhaus-Re‘em (ceramics), H. Tahan-Rosen (pottery drawing), R. Vinitsky (metallurgical laboratory) and D.T. Ariel (numismatics).
Five squares were excavated on both banks of Nahal Yissakhar, south of the spring house and east of the Crusader fortress in the village (Fig. 1). Two square, adjacent reservoirs (1, 2; Figs. 2, 3) were discovered on the western bank of the stream, and a retaining wall (W100) was discovered on the eastern bank. The reservoirs and wall were built in the Late Hellenistic period and continued to be used in the Roman, Byzantine and Umayyad periods.
In previous surveys conducted at H
addad and Khirbat et
aiyiba, which extends around and inside the village, architectural remains and pottery dating to the Early Bronze, Roman, Byzantine, Crusader and Mamluk periods and the modern era were documented (Guérin 1880:268, 269; Tzori 1977:90; Gal 1991:47–50; Tepper 2012
). In excavations conducted at Khirbat et
aiyiba, architectural remains dating to the Roman, Byzantine, Crusader and Mamluk periods were uncovered as well as pottery sherds from the Hellenistic period (Covello-Paran and Tepper 2008
[Fig. 1:1]; Abu Zidan 2011
Reservoirs. The western, northern and southern walls of Reservoir 1 were preserved (W101, W102, W105; Fig. 4), whereas the eastern wall was destroyed down to the level of its foundation. All four of the walls in Reservoir 2 survived (W102, W107, W108, W113; Fig. 5). The installations’ walls were set on a foundation constructed of fieldstones. The walls were built of basalt fieldstones and concrete (width c. 1.2 m, preserved height 0.3–1.6 m). Hydraulic plaster was applied to the inner face of the walls. The plaster was laid on potsherds that formed a straight, even and strong bedding (Fig. 6). The floors of the reservoirs were built of large basalt stones with small fieldstones in between. They were sealed with pottery sherds and concrete and were treated with hydraulic plaster. The floor of Reservoir 2 was c. 0.4 m lower than that of Reservoir 1. A round installation for placing a jar (diam. 0.4 m; Fig. 7), built of small stones, concrete and lime (wall thickness 5 cm, preserved height 8–15 cm), was found in the northeastern corner of Reservoir 2. A feeder channel (width 0.6 m, preserved height 0.6 m; Fig. 8), 0.62 m above the floor of the reservoir, was discovered in W107, near the northwestern corner of Reservoir 2. The channel was built of stones on a north–south axis and was treated with hydraulic plaster. Most of it was situated outside the bounds of the excavation and it evidently conveyed water from a spring located north of the excavation. An accumulation of brown soil (L109) containing fieldstones and potsherds dating to the Hellenistic, Roman and Byzantine periods was discovered inside the channel. The floors of the reservoirs were covered with a destruction layer and accumulations of small fieldstones and brown soil (L106, L111). These contained a small fragment of a limestone cornice, two coins—one dating to the transition from the Byzantine period to the Early Islamic period (645–670 CE; IAA No. 112111), the other to the Umayyad period (697–750 CE; IAA No. 112112)—and pottery sherds from the Hellenistic, Roman and Byzantine periods (Fig. 9), most of which originated in the bedding for the plaster on the reservoirs’ walls. The ceramic artifacts from the Hellenistic period include the base of a fish plate (Fig. 9:1), two bowl bases (Fig. 9:2, 3), a burnished krater (Fig. 9:4), a cooking pot with a grooved rim and a handle set from the rim to the shoulder of the vessel (Fig. 9:5), two jars with thickened rims (Fig. 9:6, 7) and a stamped Rhodian amphora handle (Fig. 9:8). The ceramic finds ascribed to the Roman period include a casserole with a grooved rim (Fig. 9:9) and three bag-shaped jars (Fig. 9:10–12). Pottery sherds from the Byzantine period include bowls (Fig. 9:13–16) and a cooking krater (Fig. 9:17).
Retaining Wall. A section of a retaining wall (W100; exposed length 9 m, preserved height 1.65 m; Fig. 10) set on a fieldstone foundation (L110) was exposed east of the reservoirs. The wall was constructed along a north–south axis and consisted of medium-sized and large basalt stones retaining a fill fieldstones and brown soil (L112) to its east. It seems that the fill to the east of the wall, which was very wide, rested against the slope and served as a path that ran parallel to the stream. The northern part of the wall was destroyed down to its foundation, whereas the southern part continued beyond the limits of the excavation. A scant amount of potsherds dating to the Hellenistic, Roman and Byzantine periods was discovered in the fill. Gray alluvium (L103) found atop the wall and the fill yielded potsherds ascribed to the Roman, Byzantine and Mamluk periods. The finds from the Mamluk period include three green glazed bowls (Fig. 11:1–3), a green and yellow glazed bowl (Fig. 11:4), two bowl bases with a slip-painted decoration (Fig. 11:5, 6), a hand-made krater (Fig. 11:7) and a brown-glazed cooking krater (Fig. 11:8). The ceramic finds from the Mamluk period show that agricultural activity was renewed in this region during that period.
Covello-Paran K. and Tepper Y. 2008. Et
aiyiba. HA-ESI 120
Gal Z. 1991. Map of Gazit (46) (Archaeological Survey of Israel). Jerusalem.
Guérin V. 1880. Description géographique, historique et archéologique de la Palestine. Troisiéme partie—Galilée II. Paris.
Tzori N. 1977. Nahalat Issachar. Jerusalem (Hebrew).