One square was opened, exposing a rock-hewn installation dating to Iron Age IIA.
The uneven bedrock surface, which slopes to the southwest, was exposed c. 0.10–0.15 m below ground level. A layer of intentional fill in the east of the square consisted of stones (L100; Fig. 2) that formed a uniform level, probably for the purpose of construction. A cluster of large stones was exposed on the surface next to the bedrock, in the west of the square. The stones were arranged one on top of the other to a uniform height, probably also for the purpose of construction. Upon the removal of the stone cluster, a rock-cut installation (L101; Fig. 3) was exposed. The installation had a smooth upper bedrock surface whose edges were indistinct. Two cupmarks (diam. 0.2 m, depth 0.12–0.15 m; Fig. 4) situated 0.6 m apart were revealed on the southwestern slope of the surface. Approximately 0.3 m west of the eastern cupmark were two collecting vats: an upper vat (L103), approached by the remains of a narrow channel, and a lower vat (L104; Fig. 5) tangential to the southeastern side of the upper vat. A row of stones (wall?) on the top of the lower vat extended across the upper vat, and negated the use of both vats, thereby making it difficult to ascertain the relation between them. East of the upper vat was a burnt layer.
Pottery vessels were found in the fill (L100) on the bedrock surface (L101) and in the two collecting vats (L103, L104). Most of them date to Iron Age IIA: carinated bowls (Fig. 6:1–4), including those with a folded-out rim (Fig. 6:1, 2) and deeper bowls with a ledge rim (Fig. 6:3, 4); a base of a large barrel-like krater (Fig. 6:5)—the bases of this vessel type are all especially thick, regardless of their size; cooking pots (Fig. 6:6, 7) with triangular rims typical of the early Iron Age IIA and predominant in Iron Age IIB—these were exposed mainly in the burnt layer east of the upper collecting vat and on the bedrock surface, and generally appeared together with the ridged-rim cooking pots, which are absent from the pottery assemblage in Turʽan; jars (Fig. 6:8–10), including a ridged-neck 'hippo' storage jar (Fig. 6:8) that was very common in the tenth century and first quarter of the ninth century BCE (Hazor Strata VIII–X, Megiddo Strata IVB–VA, Bet Sheʽan Stratum S1 and other sites) and disappeared in the second half of the ninth century; and jars with a more prominent ridge at the base of their neck and a thickened rim (Fig. 6:9, 10). Other finds include an irregularly shaped stone object (length 8.2 cm, width 4 cm; Fig. 6:11) with a handle at its top (height 1 cm) made of extremely porous basaltic scoria, very lightweight and was likely used for scrubbing or polishing; similar items were found in the fort at Rosh Zayit IIa, in Megiddo IV–V and in Hazor Va–X.
The absence of the ridged cooking pot and the presence of the hippo jar together with jars that have a ridge at the bottom of the rim indicate that the latest date for this assemblage is the second half of the ninth century BCE. These finds are identical to the pottery finds from the dwellings and the area near the fortified wall, and they can be dated from the late tenth to the mid-ninth centuries BCE. Similar assemblages were exposed at Rosh Zayit IIa–b (Gal and Alexandre 2000
:25–148), Yoqneʽam XIV–XV (Zarzecki-Peleg 2005
: Figs. I.39–I.59), Haz
or IX–X (Garfunkel 1997
: Figs. III 22, III.23) and Tel Amal III–IV (Levy and Edelstein 1972
: Figs. 8–16).
The cumulative data from the excavations point toward the existence of an important settlement. Buildings with pillars (Shalem and Gal 2000
:110) and the exposure of the fortified wall in two locations are indicative of a large settlement that overlooked extensive agricultural areas. The relationship between the cupmarks and the collecting vats is unclear. The installation discovered in the course of the excavation is probably related to food that was produced for a household, but its poor state of preservation makes it difficult to ascertain its exact nature. The cupmarks were most likely used for pounding cereal or grains, or positioning thick wooden beams opposite the two vats. The scoria tool, which was probably used for scrubbing or polishing, is also of no help in determining the use of the installation. The fortified wall, 2.5–3.0 m wide, may indicate an important city in the heart of the Bet Natofa Valley, as proposed by Shalem and Gal before the wall was revealed (Shalem and Gal 2000
:110). In his research on Iron Age settlement of the Lower Galilee, Gal suggested that the cities Gat H
. Malta, Tel Mador and other cities are settlements characterized by buildings with columns and pillars, such as the ‘four-room house.’ The pottery shows that the settlement was abandoned in the late ninth century BCE, similarly to other nearby sites of this period.