One square was opened around remains that were identified in the preliminary inspections (Figs. 2, 3). In this square, several elements of a building were excavated. The foundations of two walls (W101, W102), forming the western and northern walls of a room of unknown size, were unearthed. Wall 101 was founded on the soft bedrock and follows its contour. As the bedrock descends, the foundations consist of more courses (Fig. 2, 4). Because the bedrock is high in the north, W102 consists of one course only, and this course is only preserved in the west.
A floor foundation built of small stones (L111) was found in the southern part of the square. It had no clear borders, but it abuts W101. A patch of a black and white mosaic floor was found in the southeastern part of the square (L109; c. 50 tesserae per 10 sq cm; Fig. 5); the black tesserae form a rough grid-pattern. A frame comprising 6 lines of slightly bigger white tesserae could be discerned on its western edge. The mosaic continues into the southern balk, and the eastern end of the mosaic was not preserved. On the north, the mosaic floor was cut on purpose to allow space for a large stone (Fig. 6) that formed the southern boundary of a grave (L112). The mosaic was subsequently repaired with small fieldstones and continued to be in use. The mosaic lacks the kind of foundation that is associated with floors in winepresses; an industrial function is thus unlikely, suggesting that this mosaic served as the floor in a room. Grave 112 was apparently dug through the floor of the room, which despite this disturbance continued to be in use. While the grave was delimited on the south by one large stone, it was lined on the other sides with smaller stones. Roof tiles covered part of the sides of the grave and were found around it. It contained at least six human skulls (Fig. 7), but the content of the grave was not excavated due to religious sensitivity.
Most of the pottery retrieved in the excavation is dated to the late Byzantine period, but earlier pottery was found as well, such as a roman-period jar (Fig. 8:1). The late Byzantine pottery included four Phocean Red Slip bowls (Fig. 8:2–5), three cooking pots (Fig. 8:6–8), two lids (Fig. 8:9, 10), one jar (Fig. 8:11) and one lamp (Fig. 8:12).
The meager glass finds date to the Early Byzantine period. Two unidentifiable coins were found: one possibly dates to the third century CE; the other—to the fourth century CE. Both coins come from loci that are not associated with the building.
The excavation findings—a grave set into the floor of a late Byzantine-period room—have parallels in at least three western Galilee Byzantine churches that were probably part of monasteries (Ashkenazi and Aviam 2012
). Burials under a floor, albeit without cutting through the mosaic floor, and the separate burial of skulls can both be associated with monasteries in general. It thus seems that these remains were part of the rooms surrounding the central space of a church that was part of a monastery. The Roman pottery, the glass finds and the coins indicate that the site was already occupied during the Roman period. The absence of finds dating to later periods indicates that the monastery was abandoned after the Persian invasion of 614 CE or shortly thereafter.