In October–November 2014, a salvage excavation was conducted in the eastern part of Rumana, in the lower Galilee (Permit No. A-7245; map ref. 229344–97/743764–811; Fig. 1). The excavation, on behalf of the Israel Antiquities Authority, was directed by N. Feig (field photography), with the assistance of Y. Ya‘aqobi (administration), R. Mishayev and R. Liran (surveying and drafting), H. Tahan-Rosen (pottery drawing) and laborers from Kafr Manda.
Two squares (4.5 × 11.0 m; Fig. 2) were opened on the northwestern slope of Har Tur‘an, which descends toward the Bet Netofa valley. Remains of a building from the Persian period, and fragments of pottery from the Iron Age II, the Mamluk and the Ottoman periods were exposed.
In 1998, pit graves dating to the Persian period and remains of an architectural complex from the Roman period (first–third centuries CE) were excavated at the site (Stepansky 2002), c. 150 m northeast of the current excavation. In addition, several sherds ascribed to the Early Bronze Age I and the Intermediate Bronze Age were found, as well as a cluster of sherds from the Iron Age II (tenth–eighth centuries BCE).
The Southern Square. In the southern half of the square, excavation reached bedrock 0.1 m below the surface (L301; Fig. 3). Quarrying marks were visible on the rock. A cluster of stones (L306) and the remains of a wall (W307) that was founded on the bedrock were exposed in the northern part of the square. A large quantity of pottery sherds, most of them from the Iron Age and the Persian period, were discovered; a small portion of the sherds date to the Mamluk-period (fourteenth–fifteenth centuries CE). They were found on the bedrock in the southern part of the square. Fragments of Gaza-ware jars, typical of the Ottoman period, were found near the southeastern edge of the square.
The Northern Square. Remains of a building, which include a wall (W303) and a floor (L305) were exposed. Wall 303 (length 5.5 m, width 0.7 m, preserved height 0.9 m; Fig. 4) was constructed of a single row of fieldstones, oriented approximately north–south. Two foundation courses built of small and medium fieldstones survived, and a single course of large fieldstones above them. A row of small stones was placed along the outer, eastern face of the upper course. This method of construction is known from buildings that were excavated at ‘En Zippori, and its function was to protect the wall from water (R. Liran pers. comm.). Floor L305, which abutted W303, was built of small and medium stones. It was largely preserved as a strip (width c 0.6 m) along the wall. A bedding of medium size stones (L308; thickness 0.50–0.65 m; Fig. 5) set on sterile soil was exposed under the floor. The purpose of this bedding was to level the surface in preparation for the construction of the building. Fragments of pottery from IA IIB were recovered between the stones of the floor bedding. Sherds dating to the Persian period and a handful of sherds from the IA IIB were found on the stone floor.
Stones were exposed west of the building remains, and a layer of tamped soil (L309) abutted them from the west. Fragments of pottery from all of the periods that were exposed at the site were found on the tamped soil, including pieces of porcelain that apparently date to the twentieth century CE. This layer of soil could not be dated.
The majority of the finds from the site date to the IA II and to the Persian period, and a small portion date to the Mamluk and Ottoman periods. Those ascribed to the IA II (ninth–eighth centuries BCE) include burnished bowls (Fig. 6:1, 2), a large decorated bowl (Fig. 6:3), cooking pots (Fig. 6:4, 5), jars (Fig. 6:6, 7) and a juglet with a trefoil rim (Fig. 6:8). Similar vessels were discovered at sites in the northern valleys and in northern Israel, e.g. at Bet She’an (Mazar 2006), Yoqne‘am (Zarzecki-Peleg, Cohen-Anidjar and Ben-Tor 2005) and Hazor (Garfinkel 1997).
The finds from the Persian period were discovered on the floor of the building (L305) and include two types of mortaria (Figs. 6:9, 10), jars with a straight shoulder (Fig. 6:11), jars with a carinated shoulder (Fig. 6:12) and amphorae, some of them locally produced and some imports. Two of the imported amphorae—from Chios (Fig. 6:13) and from the northern Aegean (Fig. 6:14)—date to the late fifth century–early fourth centuries BCE. Lamps were also found (Fig. 6:15). Similar assemblages of the fifth–fourth centuries BCE were exposed at Tel Dor and Tell Keisan along the coast, and at Tel Qiri in the Jezreel Valley (Stern 1995; Nodet 1980; Avissar 1987).
The scant quantity of finds from the Mamluk period (fourteenth–fifteenth centuries CE) was found above the wall of the building, and it includes glazed bowls (Fig. 6:16, 17) and jars (Fig. 6:18).
A tobacco pipe (Fig. 6:19), which was apparently produced in the region of Damascus and dates to the Ottoman period (late seventeenth–early eighteenth centuries CE) was discovered above the floor of the building.
It seems that the ancient settlement was situated in this part of the village during the IA II and the Persian period. The settlement of the IA II was probably founded directly on the bedrock. The ceramic artifacts from the Iron Age indicate that the settlement at Rumana existed throughout the period, and was not affected by the military campaigns of the Assyrian king Shalmaneser III in 841 BCE (Gal 1990:141). The site at Rumana was identified with Rimon, a settlement in the territory of Zebulon (Joshua 19:13; Kallai 1967:159), which is mentioned in the list of allotments along with Gat Hefer and Hanaton. In the Persian period, the slope was leveled in preparation to the construction the building. It seems that the building from the Persian period and the pit graves that were exposed nearby in 1998, were part of a settlement, an indication to renewed occupation of the Galilee in the mid-sixth century BCE, when Phoenician cities were established on Tel ‘Akko, Tell Keisan, Tel Shiqmona and Tel Dor. The non-fortified settlements which were founded during the eighth century BCE in the periphery, constituted the agricultural hinterland of these cities. The coastal pottery-types which were found at the site support this argument. The few ceramic finds from the Mamluk and Ottoman periods seem to suggest that there was a settlement in Rumana during these periods, but not in this part of the village.
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