Three fragmented pits (L129, L131, L133; Fig. 3) hewn in chalk bedrock were exposed in the southern part of the square. Pit 129 (width 1 m) had a rectangular outline with rounded corners. Since it was suspected that this pit was part of a burial cave shaft, its excavation was suspended before the floor of the pit could be reached. Another option is that Pit 129 was part of an installation that comprised Pits 131 and 133.
Although several potsherds that could not be precisely dated were found in the pits, they enable to date the pits to no later than Middle Bronze IIA.
Remains of this stratum were founded on the bedrock outcrops and the rock-cuttings in them. A floor (L127) was founded above the Stratum III pits, which blocked them and the lower part of the bedrock outcrop. The very hard floor was built of soil, lime and potsherds. Another floor (L128) that consisted of mortar was uncovered in the north. A wall (W118; Fig. 4) aligned north–south was constructed in the east, above Floor 128. The wall, built of medium-sized fieldstones, was preserved a single course high.
Based on the ceramic finds, the remains in this stratum are dated to Middle Bronze IIA.
The stratum was divided into two phases; the earlier one was established above the remains of Stratum II (Fig. 5).
Phase B. A wall (W112) and a habitation level (L126) were preserved. Wall 112 was founded above W118 of Stratum II and along the same axis. The wall, built of medium and large fieldstones, was preserved one–two courses high. Remains of a pillar incorporated in the middle of the wall were discerned. Part of an Iron Age I pithos was exposed west of the wall.
Another wall (W107) was exposed west of W112 and parallel to it. Wall 107 was built of randomly arranged medium–large fieldstone rubble and was preserved a single course high. The western side of the wall was located beyond the boundaries of the excavation square. The wall was abutted by a floor (L117) of small flat fieldstones, which was preserved in the southern part of the square. Body fragments of pottery vessels dating to Iron Age I were found above the floor.
Phase A. A wall (W103), a habitation level (L108), and wall or building addition (W116) were exposed. Wall 103, oriented east–west and built of two rows of medium fieldstones, was preserved a single course high; its western part was missing due to a later disturbance. A floor (L113) that consisted of medium-sized fieldstones was exposed north of W103. Habitation Level 108, overlain with fragments of a broken in-situ cooking pot (Fig. 8:3), was exposed above Floor 113. Wall 116 was north of W107. This might have been a building addition that curved to the east and was built of different size fieldstones, arranged in no discernible order.
Based on the uncovered ceramic finds, this phase is dated to Iron Age IIA.
Although no Early Bronze II settlement layer was revealed in the excavation, fragments of pottery vessels from this period were found, including typical platters (Fig. 6:1, 2), a jar (Fig. 6:3) slipped red and burnished, and a body fragment that was decorated with a seal impression (Fig. 6:4), consisting of a herringbone-like pattern and a concentric circle design. At Qiryat Ata, this type of seal impression was ascribed to Early Bronze II (Greenberg R. 2003. Cylinder-Seal Impressions. In A. Golani, Salvage Excavations at the Early Bronze Age Site of Qiryat Ata [IAA Reports 18]. Jerusalem. Pp. 203–207, Fig. 7.1:1).
The finds recovered from Stratum II included fragments of open (Fig. 7:1) and closed bowls (Fig. 7:2–4) that are partly red slipped and burnished, cooking pots (Fig. 7:5, 6) and jars (Fig. 7:7–9), characteristic of Middle Bronze IIA, the likes of which had previously been discovered in burial caves at the site itself and in its vicinity (Getzov N and Nagar Y. 2002. Middle Bronze Age II Burials in the Western Galilee. In Z. Gal, ed. Eretz Tsafon.Jerusalem. Pp. 1–49 [Hebrew]).
A cooking pot fragment (Fig. 8:1) and an almost complete pithos (Fig. 8:2) were exposed in the north of the square in Stratum IB; both date to Iron Age I. Remains from this period were found in the vicinity of Tell Jatt, at sites such as Tel Kison, Tel Harashim and Karmi’el (Frankel R., Getzov N., Aviam M. and Degani A. 2001. Settlement Dynamics and Regional Diversity in Ancient Upper Galilee. Archaeological Survey of Upper Galilee [IAA Reports 14]. Jerusalem. Pp. 55–57; Gal Z., Shalem D. and Hartal M. 2007. An Iron Age Site at Karmiel, Lower Galilee. In S.W. Crawford, A. Ben-Tor, J.P. Dessel, W.G. Dever, A. Mazar and J. Aviram, eds. “Up to the Gates of Ekron”: Essays on the Archaeology and History of the Eastern Mediterranean in Honor of Seymour Gitin. Jerusalem. Pp. 119–134).
The ceramic artifacts discovered in Stratum IA included an almost complete cooking pot (Fig. 8:3) that was found in the southern part of the excavation square, and particularly fragments of jars (Fig. 8:4–8), including jars with a ridge on the neck (Fig. 8:7, 8; Gal Z. and Alexandre Y. 2000. Horbat Rosh Zayit: An Iron Age Storage Fort and Village [IAA Reports 8]. Jerusalem. P. 48). Other finds included fragments of jugs (Fig. 8:9, 10) and a basalt grinding stone (Fig. 8:11).
Despite the limitations of the excavation, it has significantly supplemented our knowledge about the settlement sequence at Tel Jatt. We can now add remains from Middle Bronze IIA (Stratum II) and Iron Age I– early Iron Age II (Stratum I) to the settlement remains dating to Early Bronze Age I and II and the Byzantine period that had previously been uncovered on the tell. The debesh construction in Stratum I, which could be construed as the remains of fortifications, might indicate the location of the boundary of the site. Future excavations will provide us with a better understanding of the remains.