In July 2014, a salvage excavation was conducted on Hill Ten at Shoham (Permit No. A-7181; map ref. 19543–50/65676–94), prior to the construction of a public park. The excavation, undertaken on behalf of the Israel Antiquities Authority and financed by the Shoham Local Council, was directed by A. Feldstein, with the assistance of D. Masarwa (area preparation) E. Bachar and R. Abu Halaf (administration), R. Mishayev and E. Belashov (surveying and plan), S. Ammami (field photography), A. Dagot and C. Ben-Ari (GPS), M. Shuiskaya (pottery drawing), P. Gendelman (pottery reading) and inspectors of the Central District of the IAA.
The excavation was conducted on a moderate southwestern slope of a hill, in the northeastern quarter of Shoham (Fig. 1). Dwellings, public buildings, oil presses, winepresses, terraces and installations ascribed to the Hellenistic, Early Roman, Byzantine and Islamic periods were discovered in excavations previously carried out on the hilltop and slopes (Nadelman 1996
; Nadelman and Torgë 2000
; Sion and Rapuano 2012
; Permit Nos. A-2019, A-2266, A-2779, A-4769).
In the current excavation, three squares (B–D) were opened along a north–south axis, yielding walls dating to the Byzantine and early Umayyad periods (Fig. 2).
A wall (W1; length 6 m; Fig. 3) aligned in a north–south direction was exposed in Sqs B and C. Its northern part was preserved two courses high (0.9 m). Its outer western face was built of smooth dressed fieldstones. The wall’s foundation was constructed in a shallow rock-cut trench (L808) hewn specifically for this purpose. The outer, southern face of the southernmost stone in the wall was dressed. As the foundation trench did not extend beyond it, it might have remained from the southwestern corner of a building (Fig. 4). A wall (W3) exposed in Sq C, west of W1, similarly continued into Sq D (Fig. 5). Wall 3 was slightly curved; it was built of fieldstones and was uncovered to a height of one course. The stone exposed at the southern end of the wall was situated slightly west of the wall’s course, and thus seems to have been moved from its original position. Another wall (W5) was discovered in Sq D, c. 1 m west of W3 and parallel to it. No habitation level or floor was discovered that abutted any of the walls; hence, the relationship between these two walls and W1 is unclear. Walls 3 and 5 might have delineated a path or a narrow road that passed alongside a building, in which W1 was the western wall. Fragments of red-slipped bowls (Fig. 6:1, 2) and jars (Fig. 6:3, 4) found in the fill beside the foundation of W1 (L808, L809) suggest that the structure was erected in the sixth or early seventh century CE. The ceramic finds recovered from the fills and accumulations along W1 and W3 (L805, L806, L811; not drawn) suggest that the building and the walls extending to its south were in use during the sixth–seventh centuries CE (Late Byzantine – early Umayyad periods).
Judging by the location of the building and of the two walls to its south—just south of a previous excavation (Field F-1; Nadelman 1998
:69, Fig. 131)—as well as their possible date, it seems likely that these remains were part of a large Byzantine-period complex.
Nadelman Y. 1996. Shoham – 1993. ESI
Nadelman Y. 1998. Shoham – 1995. ESI 18:69–71.
Nadelman Y. and Hagit Torgë. 2000. Shoham (East; A). HA-ESI 111:44*–45*.
Sion O. and Rapuano Y. 2012. A Jewish Village from the Second Temple at El-Khirbeh, Shoham Hill Ten. Judea and Samaria Research Studies 21:61–73 (Hebrew).