Quarry and Stone Pavement (F2). Remains of a quarry were exposed where a stone pavement was installed in a later phase (F2; Fig. 2: Section 1–1). All that survived in the quarry were three walls that enclosed the stone pavement from the northeast, northwest and southwest (Fig. 3). The date of the quarry could not be determined. Coins from the Byzantine and Umayyad periods was discovered in probes that were excavated beneath the pavement (below). The finds from the Umayyad period are ascribed to the time when the pavement was installed. Since the quarry predates the pavement, it seems that finds from the Early Roman or Byzantine periods indicate when the quarry operated. Lines of rock-cuttings (L300) discovered to the north of the quarry may be part of the quarry.
The pavement was composed of partially worked building stones (length 0.4–0.5 m, width 0.3–0.4 m, height 0.30–0.45 m; Fig. 4). The pavement was delimited on the east by a massive wall (W70; Fig. 5), built of two rows of large fieldstones with a fill of soil and stone in between. The wall conformed to the slope of the bedrock to the north and east of the pavement. A coin of Honorius (395–408 CE; IAA 153418) was found in the wall. Two probes were excavated below the pavement (L108, L111), yielding 11 coins from two periods: three from the Byzantine period (second half of the sixth century CE) and eight Umayyad coins (the beginning of the eighth century CE). The three Byzantine coins, all from Probe 111, are folli minted in Constantinople (Justin II, 568/9, IAA 153408; Justin II, date unclear, IAA 153410; and perhaps Maurice Tiberius, IAA 153406). The eight Umayyad coins are folles from the mint at Ramla and date between 710 and 750 CE (IAA 153399, 153401–153405, 153407, 153409). The Umayyad coins were found in both probes, and may be remains of a foundation offering or possibly a scattered coin hoard.
Fragmentary Building Remains. Five wall sections (W20, W30, W40, W50, W51) founded on bedrock were exposed north and west of the quarrying lines. Wall 20 was built in an east–west direction of one row of fieldstones and was preserved to a height of one course (Fig. 6). The remains of the wall were covered by a plaster floor (F1), a small section of which survived. Four coins were found above the floor. These are from the years 364–395 CE (IAA 153415) and 383–395 CE (IAA 153412, 153416); one could be dated only generally to the fourth century CE (IAA 153413). A coin that dates from the years 425–455 CE (IAA 153417) was recovered from the excavation between W20 and W30.
Walls 30 and 40 were constructed in a similar manner: two rows of fieldstones with earth and small stones in between. They were preserved to a height of one course. Wall 50 survived one–two courses high (Fig. 7); it seems to have delimited the northern flank of a corridor leading to a subterranean cavity, which was not excavated (L402; length 2 m, width 1 m), as it is used today as a cesspit. Wall 51 was built of two rows of fieldstones with earth and small stones in between, and was preserved to a height of one course (Fig. 10). The relationship between the walls remains unclear, although they may have belonged to a single architectural unit.
Installations. Two installations were discovered. One was partly rock-hewn, with an eastern wall built of two worked fieldstones (L301; c. 0.95 × 1.00 m; Fig. 8). The other was rectangular, blocked by a fieldstone and could not be excavated (L302; length c. 0.9 m, width 0.40–0.45 m: Fig. 9). The function of the installations was not ascertained; they are perhaps openings that lead to subterranean cavities.
Documentation of the Remains below the Bedrock Cliff. Four wall segments (W44, W71–W73), two channels (T1, T2) and two underground cavities (C1, C2), probably the remains of burial caves, were exposed. Wall 44 was built of very large stones, and it seems to have supported the floor of a unit that was situated above it. An arch that was partially preserved in W73 was probably part of a window of an architectural unit that was located to its south (Fig. 11).
Channel T1 (L712; width and height 0.5 m) was rock-cut, aligned in a north–south direction and had a U-shaped cross-section. Channel T2, located between W71 and W72, extended southward, beyond the limits of the excavation. It could not be entered for danger of collapsing.
The two underground cavities had been plundered in the past and were severed by mechanical equipment. Small rooms on two levels were all that remained of Cavity C1 (Fig. 12): one on the upper level and three on the lower level. Small rooms were preserved on two levels in Cavity C2 as well: one on the upper level and apparently two on the lower level.
The Finds. A variety of artifacts was discovered, consisting primarily of scant pottery sherds from the alluvium that covered the remains. The pottery dates from several periods. The Early Roman-period finds are cooking pots (Fig. 14:1–3) and a knife-pared lamp (Fig. 14:4); those of the Byzantine–Umayyad periods are kraters (Fig. 14:5–11) and bowls (Fig. 15:1–4); and the Abbasid-period pottery comprise a glazed bowl (Fig. 15:5), cooking pots (Fig. 15:6, 7), a frying pan (Fig. 15:8) and jars (Fig. 15:9–14). In addition, ceramic roof tiles (Fig. 15:15) were found, possibly from the roofs of the ancient buildings at the site. Three stone objects were discovered: a weight (Fig. 15:16) and grinding vessels (Figs. 15:17, 18). In addition, several fragments of glassware from the Byzantine period (not drawn) and a nail and part of an iron chisel (Fig. 16) were found.
Although the finds were discovered in the alluvium that covered the remains, it seems that they reflect the settlement sequence at the site. The numismatic finds correspond to the chronological sequence: the coin from the end of the fourth century – beginning of the fifth century CE found in W70 allows us to date the wall to the Byzantine period, and shows that the wall predates the pavement (F2). The coin matches those that were discovered above the remains of the plaster floor (F1), and therefore it seems that they are contemporaneous. The coins that were found below the pavement (F2) date from the Umayyad period and probably reflect the rehabilitation or renovation of the building.
The excavation was conducted in a small area and was limited in scope. The remains were in a poor state of preservation and they came all from the foundation level. Nevertheless, an analysis of the remains alongside the small finds provide sufficient data regarding the size and nature of the site, as well as the periods of settlement at the site. Adding to this the information from the Jerusalem survey and from previous excavations at the site (Kloner 2000
: Sites 115–118; for other references, see ‘Adawi 2014
; ‘Adawi 2015
), which unearthed underground cavities, burial caves, cisterns and architectural remains, substantiates the assumption that this is a large site that may possibly be identified with the Byzantine settlement of Met
ufa or with St. Marinus monastery that are known from contemporary Christian sources (ʽAdawi 2010