Area A (Fig. 3). A rectangular dwelling (3.5 × 5.0 m) was exposed beneath the heaps of rubble, collapsed stones and accumulations of the past 66 years. A terebinth tree, some seventy years old, grows in the midst of the building (Fig. 4). Over time the tree has become sacred because of its proximity to the prophet’s tomb, as evidenced by the pieces of cloth and ribbons tied to its branches—a popular belief associated with the granting of wishes. The dwelling consisted of a single room with a lateral arch that supported the roof. The stone arch was located in the rubble (L110); only its western pillar (W117) and a single course of its eastern pillar (part of W119) survived. The building was founded on the hewn and leveled calcareous bedrock, which made up most of the northwestern wall and served as the foundation for the northeastern wall (W119), for the southwestern wall (W109) and for the plaster floor (L123). The walls (preserved height 1.0–1.1 m) were built of a combination of fieldstones, coarsely hewn stones and well-dressed ashlars; plaster remains adhering to the walls are still visible. The thick roots of the tree had damaged the floor and other parts of the structure. An opening in the center of the southeastern wall (W107) served as the entrance to the building. The stone lintel, doorjambs and threshold stones were fashioned from soft, carefully dressed limestone. A small semicircular entryway (L122) at the front of the structure was paved with stone slabs. It was bordered on its outside by threshold stones and along the inside by a fieldstone-built step. The elevation of the entryway was 0.2 m below that of the house, and most of the artifacts were found there. Wooden beams of the door and several functional and decorative metal items that were fastened to the door were discovered in the accumulation (L121) that sealed the floor of the entryway. Most of the pottery discovered in the building was from the ceramic workshops of Rashaya el-Fukhar in southern Lebanon—vessels decorated with colored lines and geometric patterns, including fragments of several storage jars of various sizes and bearing various decorations (Fig. 5); a chamber pot (Fig. 6:1); fragments of spouted drinking jugs (ibriks; Fig. 6:2, 3), fragments of mustard yellow glazed bowls imported from southwestern Europe (Fig. 6:4, 5) and the top of a black glazed narghile decorated with a floral motif (Fig. 6:6).
A saj used in baking was discovered in the northeastern part of the house, beside clusters of charcoal and tin cans. In the southwestern part of the dwelling, a number of items were found: a decorated button, a lice comb made of bone (Fig. 7:1), a plastic toothbrush (Fig. 7:2), shoe soles, fragments of glass jars and three polishing stones—pebbles used to burnish the plaster on the walls of the home (Fig. 8). Other artifacts recovered from among the ruins of the building included bullet cartridges that were fired from Lee-Enfield (Fig. 9:1–3) and Mauser (Fig. 9:4–7) rifles used by the Palmach fighters during the battles to take control of the nearby fortress. Another historical find, recovered from topsoil, is a lock manufactured by the ABUS Company in Germany (Fig. 10), dating to the late 1940s.
Area B (Fig. 11). A long field wall (W101) running in a north–south direction was identified in the village’s agricultural area on the eastern slopes of the ridge; an excavation square was opened on either side of it, near the spot where the site had been damaged. The wall was built of fieldstones of various seizes and was used to retain an agricultural terrace. The nature of the soil that had accumulated west of the wall (max. depth 0.5 m) and the ceramic finds that were discovered in it indicate that the terrace was built and used in the Ottoman period at the earliest.
Area C (Figs. 12, 13). Here too, the excavation square was opened on either side of a long field wall (W103) that extended in a north–south direction, near the damage that was caused to the site. The wall was also built of fieldstones and was meant to prevent soil erosion (depth c. 0.3 m). This wall served as part of the perimeter enclosure around the settlement; it continued for a distance of c. 40 m along a north–south route, and it evidently formed a corner with a wall that ran along an east–west route and continued up the slope. This wall constituted a partition between the settlement and its agricultural areas, on the one hand, and a small cemetery to its south—one of two known cemeteries at the site. Here too, as on the agricultural terrace in Area B, no items were found that predate the Ottoman period.
This excavation sheds some light on the material culture of the residents of en-Nabi Yusha‘ at the end of the British Mandate, and it affords us a glimpse at what was left behind by some of the inhabitants of this small village, which was abandoned at the outbreak of hostilities in the spring of 1948.