Phase V. A high-quality plaster floor (L115; Fig. 3) was exposed in the earliest phase. It extended beyond the boundaries of the excavation area to the north, west and east. The floor was made of pink plaster over a foundation consisting of a thin layer of mortar, overlain by a layer of compacted hamra, a layer of neatly arranged, tamped pebbles (thickness 0.1 m), and finally a layer of gray plaster with incised grooves to key the pink plaster. The foundation of the floor was set on a bedding of sand (L122). The floor was repaired at least once. It abutted the northern side of a wall (W114) and was probably part of a large room or an inner courtyard. Fragments of pottery were discovered in the floor foundation, including a base of a FBW cup (Fig. 4:6) from the late eighth–early ninth centuries CE, a casserole (Fig. 4:8) from the second half of the eighth–early ninth centuries CE, a Gaza jar (Fig. 4:9) from the seventh–eighth centuries CE, and a container in the shape of a pomegranate (Fig. 4:14) from the Early Islamic period. The base of a jug glazed with alkaline glaze over white slip (Fig. 4:13) was discovered in the sand beneath the floor foundation. The jug, from the tenth–eleventh centuries CE, dates the beginning of the construction of the site as a whole. Two ashlars, set on top of two foundation courses that were built of fieldstones bonded with light mortar, were preserved at the western end of W114. The eastern part of the wall was robbed. The excavation of the robber trench (L120) yielded pottery fragments that date to the tenth–fifteenth centuries (not drawn). A gray plaster floor (L121; Fig. 5), which was laid directly on the sand, was preserved in a narrow strip that abutted the southern side of W114.
Phase IV. A new plaster floor (L119) was placed over a thin layer of soil fill that covered Floor 121.
Phase III. A new plaster floor (L118) was placed over a thin layer of soil fill that covered Floor 119.
Phase II. Floor 115 of Phase V was covered with tamped hamra, and a new plaster floor (L104; Fig. 6) was laid on top of it. Only a few sections of the floor were preserved. In Sq 1, Floor 104 abutted the northern side of Robber Trench 120, and in Sq 3 it abutted the northern side of W114. A lead weight dating to the Umayyad period (Amitai-Preiss, below) was discovered in Floor 104, between the plaster and the hamra fill. A jug (Fig. 4:11) and a buff-colored jug with incised decoration (Fig. 4:12), dating to the eighth–eleventh centuries CE, were discovered in the hamra fill. Floor 118 of Phase III was covered with soil, and a new plaster floor (L113), which abutted W114 from the south, was laid over it. Pottery sherds from the Fatimid period were found in the soil fill beneath Floor 113. A weight was discovered in the floor, between the plaster and the soil fill (Amitai-Preiss, below). A plaster floor set on a fill of soil mixed with sand (L116) was exposed in the balk between Sq 1 and Sq 2 (L112); it abutted the southern side of Robber Trench 120. Floors 112 and 113 are segments of the same floor, which was damaged in a later period. A mixed collection of glass artifacts was exposed in the excavation of Floor 112. It included a fragment of an everted rim of a shallow bowl, made of colorless glass covered by a pitted layer of hard weathering; two body fragments; and pieces of modern glass. In addition, fragments of pottery from the Fatimid period were found in Floor 112, including a glazed bowl with a ledge rim, with alkaline glaze over white slip (Fig. 4:4) and a deep bowl adorned with a knife-cut decoration (Fig. 4:7).
Phase I. Floor 112 was covered with soil fill (L110; thickness c. 0.3 m) and a new plaster floor (L106) was laid on top of it.
The excavation of the topsoil (L101, L103) yielded the following finds: LRC bowl (Fig. 4:1) from the Umayyad period; Common Glazed bowl with alkaline glaze but no slip (Fig. 4:2) from the Abbasid period; bowls with a green alkaline glaze without slip (Fig. 4:3) from the early Abbasid period; a Sgrafitto bowl, with green glaze over white slip (Fig 4:5) dating to the tenth–eleventh centuries CE; a jar from the fourteenth–fifteenth centuries CE (Fig. 4:10); two containers in the shape of pomegranate (Fig. 4:15, 16) from the eighth–eleventh centuries CE; an almond-shaped oil lamp (Fig. 4:17) from the Abbasid period; and two fragments of glass vessels from the Abbasid period (not illustrated)—a base fragment of a bowl made of colorless glass, with an inner fold around it and coated with a pitted layer of hard weathering, and a body fragment of a bowl. Two weights were also discovered in the surface layer, one dating to the eighth–eleventh centuries CE and the other to the time of the British Mandate (Amitai-Preiss, below).
Four weights were discovered in the excavation: one dating to the Umayyad period, two to the Abbasid and Fatimid periods, and one to the time of the British Mandate.
A Weight from the Umayyad Period. A poorly preserved lead weight (B1034; 1.518 g after cleaning; Fig. 7:1) was discovered in Floor 104. A single Arabic word: عبد (‘Abed, i.e. slave) was preserved on it, probably part of the title عبد الله (‘Abed Allah, i.e. slave of god), which prefaced the name of every Umayyad caliph mentioned in monumental inscriptions, papyri, weights and seals. It is also possible that the word ‘Abed is part of the name of a government official, for example ‘Abed er-Rahman. The word is written in angular script incorrectly called Kufic, that dates to the Umayyad period, or the early Abbasid period. Pottery dating to the eighth–eleventh centuries CE were found in the same locus as the weight. Umayyad-period lead weights are also known elsewhere. A weight bearing the name of the city of Bet Guvrin is in a collection in England; a lead weight was discovered in the vicinity of Bet Guvrin; and another one was found in Ashqelon, bearing the name of the city and a date (Amitai-Preiss 2014; Amitai-Preiss and Berman 2014).
Weights from the Abbasid and Fatimid Periods. A bronze disc-shaped weight of one dinar (B1033; diam. 12 mm, thickness 6 mm; 3.98 g after cleaning; Fig. 7:2) was discovered in Floor 113. One dinar weights should weigh 4 g (Holland 2009:48, no. 154). The weight has two round bases; in the center of one there is a dot, circumscribed within a circle of dots, and in the center of the other a wreath is circumscribed within a circle of dots. A similar pattern of a central dot within three concentric circles appears on coins from the Fatimid period, and therefore the weight should be dated to this time. The weight was found in a locus with pottery from the Fatimid period.
A rectangular bronze weight of two dirhams (B1032; 9 × 11 mm, thickness 5 mm; 5.27 g after cleaning; Fig. 7:3) was also exposed in the surface layer (L101). A rectangular weight of similar weight was previously discovered in Ramla (Tal 2008:207 [No. 9]). Pottery from the eighth–eleventh centuries CE was found in the same locus.
Both weights are very common in sites from the Abbasid and Fatimid periods, and they were used in commerce (Holland 1986:191).
A Weight from the time of the British Mandate. A bronze cylindrical weight (B1031; 19.93 g; Fig. 7:4) was discovered in the topsoil (L101). The original weight of the object—20g—is specified on one of the bases. On the other, the letters PG (Palestine Government) appear. Above them the crown of the British royal family, and below them the numeral 5. The numeral 5 denotes a specific city, which was the only place where the weight of the object could be verified; the identity of that city is not known. The weights from the period were manufactured by the British government in accordance with the Weights and Measures Act of 1945. The act stipulates a verification seal on each weight, that should include a numeral and a crown. Weights with the numerals 5 and 6 appear together with one type of a crown, while weights with the numerals 1, 2 and 3 occur with a different type of crown (Nevo 2000:51). To date, no weights with the numeral 4 on them have been discovered.