Stratum 8 (Persian period). A bedrock surface on which a wall was built, showed marks of having been smoothed. Only traces of the wall were preserved. It was apparently dismantled to make way for a later structure. A round installation built of flat stones was found nearby. Many fragments of pottery from the fifth–fourth centuries BCE were discovered.
Stratum 7 (Hellenistic period; third–second centuries BCE). Remains of buildings were discovered throughout the excavation area, particularly in the eastern part. They were built in the Phoenician method of construction that combines medium-sized fieldstones with long flat stones set upright between them. A narrow building in the east of the area, oriented northeast–southwest, was divided by partition walls into narrow cells (Fig. 1), that may have been storerooms. A stone threshold was discovered at the southern end of the building’s western wall. The building was not completely exposed, and some of its walls continued to the east. Pottery dating to the second half of the second century BCE was discovered underneath the floor and above it, including many Phoenician bowls and numerous amphorae fragments. Stamped impressions were found on many of the amphorae handles. An arrowhead was found on the floor in one of the cells.
Stratum 6 (first century BCE–first half of the first century CE). Remains of residential buildings with several construction phases were uncovered. The floors of the buildings in the eastern part of the area sealed the walls of Stratum 7. The buildings were well constructed, and arranged in terraces aligned east–west on the slope (Fig 2). A building preserved to a maximum height of 2 m was exposed in the east of the excavation area (Fig. 3). Its longitudinal walls were meticulously built of ashlars in a north–south orientation, while its lateral walls were not as carefully constructed. Two water channels were incorporated between the walls of the building. Finds in this stratum included knife-pared pottery lamps, fragments of stone vessels, and a fragment of kalal-type vessel, finds which are characteristic of a Jewish population.
Stratum 5 (second half of the first century CE–first half of the second century CE). Changes were made to the ashlar building from Stratum 6. Lateral partition walls with foundations down to bedrock were built in its northern part (Fig. 4). The foundation trenches cut through the floor of the building from Stratum 6. A new wall in the western part of the building seems to have reduced its size. The northern part of one of the water channels was blocked. The area between the ashlar building and other structures in the eastern part of the excavation area was deliberately filled with tamped earth and small stones, apparently in an attempt to create a defensive wall or a barricade to protect the buildings in the eastern part of the area. Fragments of pottery dating to the second half of the first century CE were discovered in this fill.
Stratum 4 (second half of the second century CE–third century CE). Remains of walls which divide the ashlar building from Strata 6 and 5 into small cells were exposed in the eastern part of the area. Segments of walls were uncovered throughout the excavation area, but they form no coherent plan.
Stratum 3 (fourth–fifth centuries CE). Several residential complexes were uncovered. In the eastern part of the excavation area, changes were made to the buildings from the earlier strata, including repairs, blocked openings in walls and raised floor levels. Sections of large buildings were revealed in the southern and northern parts of the area. A complete structure, divided into rooms, was exposed only in the southwestern part of the area. The building was not completely excavated, because its walls continued beyond the baundaries of the excavation area. The excavation of Stratum 3 yielded a large number of imported LRC bowls, along with locally produced vessels. Sacred lamps decorated with a cross or a human face are noteworthy, since they indicate that the population changed, and was now Christian.
Stratum 2 (sixth century–beginning of the eighth century CE). The buildings of Stratum 3 remained in use, and were repaired and enlarged. New buildings were constructed in the western part of the excavation area. A thick burnt deposit (Fig. 5), containing whole ceramic vessels, covered some of the floors, and some of the walls were tilted. It seems that Stratum 2 suffered violent destruction, possibly in the earthquake of 749 CE.
Stratum 1 (late eleventh–early fifteenth century CE). The stratum was severely damaged by the construction of the Tambour factory, and only a few architectural remains survived. Several segments of walls, a section of a stone pavement which was laid over a wall from Stratum 3 (Fig. 6), and a round stone installation, were discovered in the southern part of the excavation area. The large quantity of finds in this stratum indicates a long period, which it may be possible to further subdivide, of a large and extensive settlement. The pottery finds include vessels used in sugar production, and fourteenth century CE imports from Italy.
The construction in most of the strata was of fine quality, testifying to an affluent population. The small finds that were found in the various strata reflect the economic basis of the site throughout the periods, and include a large quantity of grind stones and millstones—Pompeian mills (‘donkey mills’), round millstones, square millstones—an iron sickle, loom weights, numerous spindle whorls and vessels associated with the sugar industry. Many imported vessels were discovered in the various strata, probably a reflection of the proximity to the main trade route from ‘Akko. This road was very important in the history of the site, particularly in regards to the movement of the Roman army between ‘Akko and the Galilee.
The stone vessels that were exposed in Stratum 6 show that a Jewish population resided at the site in the first century BCE and in the first century CE.
Barag (1981) and Aviam (1983) identified the settlement Capharta (
Capharecho), mentioned by Josephus in the list of fortifications (Jesephus, Life 32), as Kefar Ata. Capharecho is mentioned as one of the villages that were fortified in preparation to the Great Revolt. The location of the site, in close proximity to the main Roman road leading to ‘Akko, where the army of Vespasian was garrisoned on the eve of the Great Revolt, reinforces this hypothesis. The soil and stone fill in Stratum 5 was probably part of this fortification. Few changes can be seen in the buildings of Stratum 5, and it seems that the settlement continued to exist after Vespasian’s conquest, in the period between the revolts. Settlement continued also in Stratum 4, the time of the ‘Usha generation, when the Sanhedrin had its seat at ‘Usha, 3 km from the site. During the Byzantine period (from the end of the fourth century CE) the population changed and became Christian, as is indicated by the sacred lamps that were discovered in Stratum 3. The destruction of Stratum 2 testifies to an uninterrupted settlement until the early eighth century CE. A Christian population apparently inhabited the site in the Crusader period, when the site was part of the agricultural hinterland of ‘Akko. The armistice signed between the Mamluk sultan Qalawun and the Franks (the Knights Templar) in ‘Akko in 1283, states that the settlement Capharta , located near Shefar‘am, remains under Frankish rule. Even when ‘Akko remained the last stronghold of the Crusaders, the site continued to be under their protection. Judging by the meager ceramic finds from the thirteenth century CE, it seems that the settlement became smaller during this period. In the fourteenth century CE the settlement expanded again, and the numerous Italian pottery imports indicate that the inhabitants were engaged in commerce. In 1517 the settlement Capharta passed into the hands of the Ottoman Empire. In a land census of the mid-sixteenth century CE the place is called Cupharta and there were six households in it. At the end of the sixteenth century CE the number of households was fifteen. On the Jacotin Map from 1799 the settlement at the site is marked as Koufour Tai.