Two Attic-style column bases were found in-situ, with an interaxial distance of c. 2.46 m (see Fig. 2). The architectural order of the Colonnaded Way was Ionic and several Ionic capitals have been found in unexcavated squares, fallen from their original positions and protruding through the surface soil. In the Roman period, the colonnade defined the street’s northern edge, but whether or not it was freestanding or part of a portico-like structure is presently unknown; future excavations will shed more light on this question. The colonnade was blocked up with walls in the Early Byzantine period and doorways were inserted between the standing columns. This ‘colonnaded wall’ became the east wall of a series of shops and domestic structures built along the roadway. So far, portions of these shops have been partially excavated in Squares L14–L16, L18, L19, L22 and L23.
A doorway, with two reused limestone ashlar slabs serving as a threshold and reused ashlar blocks serving as door jambs, was inserted in the space between the two columns in Squares L22/23 (see Fig. 2). Near the south edge of the square and abutting the southernmost column base, a rubble wall was built of hammer-dressed basalt blocks and reused limestone blocks. At the north edge of the square, another wall, built in the same manner, ran parallel to the south edge. The rear, or west wall, of this small building has not yet been uncovered. The floor of the building was simply packed earth.
Excavation in the area of the road portion of the Colonnaded Way (Sq N22) found a stratigraphy similar to that revealed in Sq M23, which contained several strata of re-surfacing and grading. In the lowermost stratum (elevation 181.95 m asl), the remains of two pipelines, consisting of short sections of individual terracotta pipes, were found. Each pipe section (length c. 0.33 m) has a male and a female end, whereby each section was socketed into one another, joining a male end into a female end, thus creating a pressure pipeline with the flow of water running from the northeast to the southwest. After the two pipes had been laid, they were encased and sealed in concrete.
Excavation in either Sq P23, opened in 2008 or Sq P22, opened in 2009, is not yet complete (Fig. 3). Immediately below the surface, Early Byzantine walls that belonged to two, maybe three, small structures were found; these were similar to those uncovered on the west side of the Colonnaded Way (in Sqs L22/23). It appears that small shops also lined the roadway on the east side, as on the west side of the street. The walls were constructed in a manner typical of this period, namely reusing limestone slabs and hammer-dressed, roughly squared basalt blocks. The remains of two drains, one within a badly preserved marble-slab floor, were found in one building. Beneath this building ran another pipeline constructed in the same manner as the pipelines in Sq N22. The course of this pipeline ran in a north–south direction, parallel to the Colonnaded Way.
A series of adjacent squares (G19, H18, H19, J19, K19 and L19) were laid out, extending 25 m from the Colonnaded Way westward, to explore the light industrial area of ‘Omrit. Early Byzantine walls, floors and industrial features were discovered in every square. The construction of the walls was similar to that of the other Early Byzantine structures discussed above. No single building has been completely uncovered yet, but the area to the west of the Colonnaded Way appears to have been densely packed in the Early Byzantine period with small structures, perhaps primarily shops and other industrial facilities. Two more shops were excavated along the Colonnaded Way in Square L19 (Fig. 4). A wall with a narrow doorway at its east end separated the two shops. The poorly preserved paved floors in each shop were composed of haphazardly laid reused limestone slabs and block fragments.
A well-built liquid processing installation was uncovered in Square G19 (Fig. 5). The vat-like installation (1.46 × 1.84 m) is rectangular in plan and similar to the installation discovered in Squares DD31 and DD32, to the north of the current excavation area and excavated in 2008 (not marked on Fig. 1). The walls were built of rubble and broken potsherds, terracotta tiles and clay-pipe fragments cast in a concrete-like matrix and both the interior and exterior faces were coated with a very hard plaster or perhaps even a finely-made concrete or mortar. The vat within the installation has a somewhat semicircular footprint and its floor is composed of reused marble veneer fragments set in concrete. A drain at the bottom of the vat’s eastern side was apparently meant to evacuate the contents of the vat onto the floor of the room in which the installation was built. The floor and the room’s western wall were coated with the same hard plaster or fine concrete that covered the vat.
Within the temenos area of the temple, a large area (Sqs L/M6) was opened just to the west of the Roman-period altar. More of the temenos’ basalt slab pavement was uncovered, in addition to re-exposing Structure E—the remains of a statue base that was chronologically associated with the altar and had been excavated in 2006. Just a bit farther to the west of the altar, a thirteenth century CE structure had been built on the temenos pavement. The lower portions of its walls consisted of reused Roman-period architectural blocks, including a very large statue base. The structure was probably associated with the thirteenth century CE ovens, discovered on top of the altar in 2006.
Space 5 (SP5 in Fig. 1), which corresponds to the area beneath the porch of the temple, is confined by the north, east, and south walls of the podium in Temple I and its cross wall, separating Space 4 from Space 5; it was partially excavated in 2006 and 2007 and the southeastern portion of Space 5 was investigated in 2009 (Fig. 6). Beneath several strata of dense fill associated with the construction of Temple II (late first century CE), the ashlar-built platform, partially exposed in 2007, was found to extend eastward where it abutted the door threshold of a temenos wall. The platform splays out at skewed angles from the Early Shrine’s ashlar steps. The platform was intended to connect the staircase with the doorway, but since the doorway does not fall on the long axis of the Early Shrine, the typical symmetry expected in temple and temenos design was discarded. About half way between the Shrine’s steps and the door threshold, two pedestals were built into the platform, opposite one another on the north and south sides. The pedestals were found in an excellent state of preservation with their original frescoes still intact. The pattern, a faux marble executed in ochre and red colors, has been found on some architectural blocks discovered in previous seasons. Some white plaster with a partially preserved circular lip or impression is preserved on the top surface of the south pedestal. Each pedestal probably supported a basin or statue with a circular base.
The last two seasons of excavation have done much to clarify the settlement of ‘Omrit in the Late Roman and Byzantine periods. The settlement was quite large and dense by the Early Byzantine period. It consisted of industrial and domestic buildings, generally small in size and probably no more than a single story high. The roadway of the Colonnaded Way remained in use from the Late Roman to the Early Byzantine periods, without any recognizable break in the habitation of the site. The colonnade itself ceased to function as a row of columns and instead became a long wall pierced with doorways, which led into a series of shops and homes built along the full length of the street. The settlement size at ‘Omrit in the Early Byzantine period was approximately 16 dunums. However, we suspect that Byzantine ‘Omrit extended also eastward beyond the area of the altar because of dense potsherd cover and several architectural features protruding through the surface soil.