During December 2007, a salvage excavation was conducted at Nein (Permit No. A-5155; map ref. 23298–9/72640–1), prior to construction. The excavation, undertaken on behalf of the Israel Antiquities Authority and underwritten by the property owner, M. Zou‘aby, was directed by F. Abu Zidan (field photography), with the assistance of Y. Lavan (administration), R. Mishayev (surveying and drafting), E.J. Stern (ceramic consultation) and H. Tahan-Rosen (pottery drawing).
The village of Nein is situated at the northern foot of Giv‘at Ha-More. An excavation square was opened along the northern fringes of the village, next to the remains of a building from the Ottoman period, which was damaged during the construction of a road. Three building strata (1–3; Fig. 1) were exposed. Remains of an aqueduct were exposed in the earliest Stratum 1; although the precise date of the aqueduct is unknown, it predated the Mamluk period. Building remains from the Mamluk period were revealed in Stratum 2 and construction remains that dated to the Ottoman period were identified in Stratum 3.
Stratum 1 (Fig. 2). Remains of a rock-hewn aqueduct (L19; max. width c. 0.65 m; depth c. 1 m), oriented north–south, were exposed. The eastern side of the aqueduct was straight, whereas a ledge was hewn on its western side, 0.3 m above the ground, which made the upper part of the aqueduct wider (upper width c. 0.65 m, bottom width 0.35 m). Based on the direction of the aqueduct, it seems to have conveyed water from the village’s spring to the fields north of it. A stone fill was discovered inside the channel; it was deposited when the area was prepared for construction in a later stratum. Potsherds from the Roman and Byzantine periods were discovered in the aqueduct, but it seems that they were swept here after the aqueduct was no longer in use. Remains of a building from the Mamluk period were exposed above the aqueduct and therefore, it is clear that the aqueduct predated this period.
Stratum 2 (Mamluk period; Fig. 3). Most of the construction in the excavation area dated to the Mamluk period. Two building phases were discerned. A wall (W21) and a floor to its south (L18) were ascribed to the early phase. Wall 21 was built perpendicular to the aqueduct and its rock-cut foundation trench had cut into the aqueduct and negated it. Floor 18 consisted of tamped chalk (thickness c. 3 cm) and was founded on small fieldstones; it probably abutted W21 from the south. The potsherds in this phase included fragments of a cooking pot that dated to the thirteenth century CE (Fig. 4:4).
Three walls of a building (W12–W14) and a tamped chalk floor (L16) belonging to the same building were ascribed to the later phase. The three walls were built above Floor 18 of the early phase. The building’s entrance (width c. 1 m) was in W13. Floor 16 was only identified in the southern balk of the square, next to the southern side of Wall 12. The potsherds discovered in this phase included bowls that dated to the fourteenth century CE (Fig. 4:1, 3).
Stratum 3 (Ottoman period; Fig. 5). The surface level was removed (thickness c. 1 m) and building remains from the Ottoman period were destroyed when mechanical equipment broke through a route, prior to construction. Wall remains, a chalk floor and a collapse layer from this period were discerned in the southern section of the road. These remains were not excavated and their dating is based on fragments of a bowl and jar from the Ottoman period (Fig. 4:2, 5), which were discovered when the southern balk of the excavation was straightened and the surface level removed.
An aqueduct that probably supplied water to the village’s cultivation plots or to a farmhouse on the northern fringes of the village passed through the excavation area, prior to the Mamluk period. Buildings were constructed on the bedrock in the Mamluk period. The settlement expanded in this period and almost reached the fringes of the present-day village. The settlement continued to exist in the Ottoman period, and the local residents today were even familiar with some of the Ottoman buildings. Most of them were destroyed due to development.