The excavation was conducted north of extensive excavations carried out recently (for the background and references, see Greenhut and de-Groot 2009; Khalaily and Vardi 2019; Khalaily et al. 2020) along 400 m on the course of the old Highway 1, due to be disturbed by the laying of a new bridge and highway. Some 290 squares were excavated in eight areas (E, E1, E2, F, G, G1, G2, G3; Fig. 1), uncovering settlement remains from the Neolithic, Chalcolithic, Intermediate Bronze, Roman, Byzantine, Ottoman and British Mandate periods (Table 1). Sterile soil was not reached anywhere, although in places the excavation reached over 5 m below the surface. Strata were numbered according to the numbering of the strata in the past extensive excavations.
Table 1. Stratigraphy
Date (calibrated)
16thmid- 20th c. CE
OttomanBritish Mandate (Stratum 14)
12th13th c. CE
Middle Ages (Stratum 13)
5th7th c. CE
Byzantine (Stratum 12)
4th5th c. CE
Late RomanEarly Byzantine (Stratum 11)
Mid-2nd4th c. CE
Late Roman (Stratum 10)
End of 1stfirst third of 2nd c. CE
Middle Roman (Stratum 9)
23001950 BCE
Intermediate Bronze (Stratum 7)
45003800 BCE
Ghassulian Chalcolithic (Stratum 5)
49004500 BCE
Early Chalcolithic (pre-Ghassulian; Stratum 4)
64005800 BCE
Early Pottery Neolithic (Stratum 3)
71006700 BCE
Pre-Pottery Neolithic B, late phase (Stratum 2)
The Pre-Pottery Neolithic B period, late phase (Stratum 2). In Area E1, remains of a large building against the natural hillside was uncovered (Fig. 2), in which two construction phases were identified: a rectangular (c. 4.0 × 4.5 m) structure whose entrance seems to have been on the northwest was assigned to the early phase; in the later phase the structure was enlarged to the south (c. 4 × 7 m) and a semi-circular porch was added in the north, with a corridor leading to it. After the building fell out of use, a round burial pit was dug into its remains, in which a primary burial was exposed (Fig. 3), with six individuals laid on top of one another and subsequently covered by earth. In Area E2 an accumulation was uncovered with finds from this period. In Area G2, remains of a wall and occupation level were uncovered (not excavated). In Area G3, wide walls (over 1 m) that join in a T-shape, seem to have formed part of a large and massive building (over 3.8 × 4.0 m). In the accumulations that covered the remains, a rich assemblage of finds was recovered, including a cache of four stone axes.
The Early Pottery Neolithic period (Stratum 3). In Area E2 a wall was found, cut by a circular installation from the Early Chalcolithic period (Stratum 4, below). The fill next to the wall was rich in finds, including mudbrick material (Fig. 4). In Area G3, a thin layer, rich in finds from the period was exposed. It seems that the building from Stratum 2 (above) continued in use in Stratum 3 as well, with the addition of partition wall in its southern part. The preliminary study of the ceramic and flint assemblages assigns the stratum to the Lodian culture (Jericho IX).
The Early Chalcolithic period (pre-Ghassulian; Stratum 4). In Area E1, two building phases were identified. To the early phase was assigned a broad house of one room (c. 2 × 4 m; Fig. 2) and a tamped earth floor; flat stones placed in the two corners served probably as pillar bases. To the late phase were assigned remains of a paving of small stones, a circular installation paved with flat stones and a bell-shaped subterranean installation constructed of large stones. In Area E2 was found a massive broad house with an entrance on the east, whose walls (max. width 1 m; Fig. 5) were constructed of large, dressed stones; the building extends outside of the excavation limits. Three construction phases were identified. In the early phase a massive building was constructed, with a well-designed opening in the northeast corner, flanked by pilasters. Within the building, opposite the entrance, were two rows of pillar bases. Outside the entrance was a stone pavement, its large slabs laid over curved walls, forming a kind of oval podium. Next to the building on the east, a semi-circular installation was excavated (diam. c. 1.5 m). In the middle phase the original entrance was blocked and a new one was constructed in the southern part of the same wall. A bench was added next to the wall to the north of the new entrance, and two pillar bases were placed opposite the entrance. A segment of a paving made of large stone slabs was found in the southern part of the building. In the late stage, rooms were apparently added to the building to the north and south, its floor was raised, and partition walls replaced the pillar bases. The western wall of the structure was excavated. Within the building, a rich repertoire of finds included a violin figurine, a phallic figurine, a mace head, a large ceramic chalice, and a ceramic bowl, perhaps a lamp. West of the building lies a large, vacant area, with occupation levels rich with finds, installations, and pits. The installations were attributed to two phases. To the early phase were attributed two round pits (diam. c. 1 m) dug in the earth, their bottom paved with stone plates; the sides of one of them preserves a stone lining (Fig. 4). A circular installation constructed of medium-sized stones, perhaps a pit, was attributed to the late phase. All the pits were found filled with small stones, some burnt. The construction method and the finds within and around the structure are characteristic of public or cult buildings. The building also yielded a number of finds from the Ghassulian culture (Stratum 5), so it seems that it continued in use in that period as well. In Area F, remains of a wall and accumulations, and in Areas G and G1 only accumulations were found. In Area G3 a cist grave (Fig. 6) was found, lined and covered by large stone slabs; inside, an adult individual in a semi-fetal position was found, without grave offerings.
The Intermediate Bronze Age (Stratum 7). In Area E1, crushed pottery vessels and a mud brick collapse were found on a tamped earth floor abutting a wall. In Area E2, remains of a rectangular structure (Fig. 7) were found, and an adjacent occupation level with in situ stone vessels (mortars) and covered with crushed pottery vessels. The structure is divided in two by a partition wall: the northern room has a floor of flat stones and an entrance on the west and the southern room has a tamped earth floor over which in situ crushed pottery vessels were found. Northeast of the structure is a round silo, constructed of stone slabs. In Area F the corner of a structure and a stone floor were exposed.
The Middle and Late Roman periods (Strata 9 and 10). In Area E, a pit grave dating from the Middle Roman period was discovered, and 5 m from it a plastered installation (Fig. 8) from the same period. In Area E1, over the earlier remains, twothree field walls and a concentration of stones were found, perhaps fences. The finds next to the wall are from the Roman period. In Area E2, two segments of a built and plastered water channel were uncovered. In its northern part and near it, many fragments of clay pipes were collected. The channel appears to have supplied the settlement with water from springs to the west and southwest of the excavation. In Area F, over earlier remains, a domestic complex was exposed (Fig. 9), and two construction phases were identified. A courtyard, paved with stone slabs and surrounded by rooms was attributed to the early phase, the Middle Roman period (Stratum 9). In the later phase (Stratum 10), the courtyard was cancelled and a room with a plaster floor was constructed over it. Repairs were carried out in the southern and eastern rooms and they continued in use. A rectangular, plastered installation was added in the northwestern room of the complex and twothree rooms were added on the northern and western sides.
In Area G (Stratum 9) an east-west colonnaded street was exposed (length c. 90 m, width c. 7 m; Fig. 10), sloping gently to the west. The street was paved with layers of tamped chalk and plaster. Along the southern part of the street a narrow drainage channel was found, lined and covered by stones; its floor was partly plastered and partly paved with stones. Several limestone column bases, found in situ, are part of a stylobate that carried a row of columns that separated the street from the sidewalk (width c. 2.4 m) to its north. The bases, as well as some capitals found nearby are all different from one another, suggesting that here they were in secondary use. A row of rooms, possibly shops, were uncovered north of the sidewalk. Along their southern wall, a plastered channel was built to supply the rooms with water and was later replaced by a clay pipe laid inside the channel. An additional row of rooms, parallel to the first, was uncovered 5 m to the north.
In Stratum 10, the width of street was reduced, its level was elevated, a drainage channel was cut in its center and the columns were no longer in use. The column bases north of the street were incorporated in a new wall that delimited the street. Four–five rooms and some installations were constructed over the southern side of the street from Stratum 9. In the western part of the area, a plastered pool was constructed over the sidewalk.      

In Area G1 a luxurious villa was discovered — a square peristyle building (c. 30 × 30 m; Fig. 11) — built in the Middle Roman period (last third of the first–first third of the second century CE) and remained in use until the fourth century CE. Because the northern wing continues beyond the excavation limits, and because the eastern and western wings were damaged to the foundations in the Byzantine period, the exact extent of the complex is unknown. At least four phases of use were distinguished (14):

(1) To the earliest phase (Stratum 9; Fig 11: in red) was assigned a courtyard (7.2 × 10.5 m), surrounded on four sides by stoas (width c. 2.5 m). No floor was identified in the courtyard, only a light-colored layer with a layer of hamra soil on top; it may have been a garden. A channel drained the courtyard. The courtyard was separated from the stoas by a stylobate, of which a number of limestone pedestals survive. The northern stoa was paved with opus sectile, of which only negatives remain in the bedding. The other stoas were apparently paved with mosaic carpets, of which only the bedding remains. In the center of the northern wing a room was excavated, paved with a mosaic carpet decorated with a pattern of red, white and black hexagons, surrounded by a double black border (Fig. 12); it appears to have served as a triclinium. The mosaic shows evidence of numerous repairs, indicating extended use. The western side of the mosaic abuts a rectangular pool that was approached by a flight of four narrow steps from the west. The pool’s floor and the upper surface of its sides, maybe serving as benches, were paved with small white tesserae. The pool was drained through a channel (length 17 m), covered by rectangular stone plates. At a distance of 5 m west of the pool, a plaster floor segment was found, perhaps vestiges of a basin that delivered the water arriving from the channel in Area E2 further up the slope (above) to the stepped pool. East of the triclinium a large room was uncovered, whose walls and floor were plastered with a thick layer of mortar and plaster, perhaps a water reservoir or part of a bath (see below). The western wing yielded, among others, a round, plastered pit with steps leading down to its floor, where a settling cavity was observed; the pit seems to have served as an underground cistern. In the southern wing, four or five rooms were exposed, which apparently opened onto the sidewalk of the street excavated in Area G to the east (above). Vestiges of walls found in the eastern wing suggest that in this phase there were four rooms on this side. About 1 m below the floor of the eastern stoa and below the eastern side of the northern wing a large drainage channel was exposed, which continued southward, away from the building.

East of the building, built and plastered installations were found, as well as remains of iron manufacture.

(2) The second phase (Figs. 11: in light blue; 12) was observed only in the northern wing. The stepped pool was repaved with ceramic tiles, placed directly over the mosaic of the earlier phase. West of it a square pool was built; an orifice in its eastern wall led water to an apsidal installation paved with ceramic tiles, and from there into the stepped pool. East of the stepped pool, a partition wall was built across the colorful mosaic floor, separating the pool from the triclinium. The opulence of the building in its first two phases is evident in the fresco and stucco fragments that originally adorned the walls of the building and which were discovered in the northern side of the building and courtyard, in fills below the floors of the Late Roman period (Stratum 10). These fills also yielded many tubuli fragments, evidence of a nearby bath. It is possible that one purpose of the drainage channel under the eastern stoa (above) was to drain the bath, which was situated in the northern wing.

(3) In the third phase (Stratum 10; Fig. 11: in blue) the structure underwent a major modification: the stoas were cancelled, the courtyard was reduced in size, its level was raised, and the walls of the rooms were rebuilt. The pools and the room with the colorful mosaic in the northern wing continued in use. The outer wall of the eastern wing was rebuilt with ashlars laid in headers and stretchers. The floor levels of the rooms in the southern wing were raised, and pilasters were constructed to support the ceiling. In some rooms of the western wing, partition walls were built, and floors were raised. In the northern part of this wing, two rooms were constructed over the round pit from the previous phase.

(4) In the final phase (Fig. 11: in yellow), parts of the building were abandoned while others were converted to industry. In the northern wing an oil press was built, comprising a large screw-press bed and east of it a large collecting vat embedded in the floor, to collect the pressed liquid. It seems that the direct pressure screw press continued in use in the Byzantine period. In the eastern part of the northern wing a stone floor was built over the plaster floor from the third phase. In the eastern and southern stoas, crude mosaic floors were added over the plaster floors from the third phase. The wall enclosing the rooms of the southern wing was rebuilt, directly over the earlier walls. South of the wall and of the rooms, walls were built across the street and the sidewalk, creating rooms, in some of which tabuns were found. East of the building, over the Stratum 9 installations, a large, oval pit (c. 7 × 12 m) was dug, lined with field stones without a binding agent and without a floor.

In Area G2, the continuation of the colonnaded street described in Area G (above) was excavated, and two phases were identified (Stratum 9). Rooms found to the north of the street and sidewalk were assigned to the early phase. In the western part of the area, above the street, many fresco fragments (Figs. 13, 14) were found, used as bedding for the Late Roman street. The walls excavated in the present excavation abut the walls of a structure excavated in the past (Eisenberg 1974); numerous fresco fragments were recovered in the context of those walls as well (Eisenberg, pers. comm.). It seems that these rooms, together with the rooms excavated north of the street in Area G and those excavated by Eisenberg are part of an architectural complex that included some luxurious rooms. At a certain stage, the northern wall of the street was rebuilt.

In the late phase (Stratum 10), the surface of the street was raised, and columns were no longer used. Six column bases that remained in situ were incorporated in a wall that enclosed a lever-and-weights type oil press (Fig. 15), built on the sidewalk. The entrance to the press was on the west, lower than the street level. In the press were found in situ three weights, two large, smooth pillars and between them a built and plastered collecting vat. It seems that the oil press extended another 10 m to the east, where a vat was discovered, its sides plastered, and its floor paved with mosaic.
The Late RomanEarly Byzantine periods (Stratum 11). In Area G, 13 cist and pit graves were found, which are later than the Roman period settlement and earlier than the Byzantine one. The orientation of the graves is not uniform: some lie east-west and others north-south. Some individuals were buried in drainage channels or next to walls of the Roman settlement, so it seems that the burials took place at a time when these remains were still visible. One burial yielded glass vessels, and another jewelry. Similar cist graves, from the same period, were found in Area B1 of the previous and adjacent excavation (Mizrahi 2015; Bar-Nathan et al. 2020: Fig. 8).
The Byzantine period (Stratum 12). In Area F, over the Roman-period buildings, three wide and massive retaining walls were built. Next to two of the walls massive pilasters were found, constructed on a gray, concrete-like surface. A third pilaster, aligned with the first two, was found to the south. The walls and pilasters were constructed of field stones, and large, partly dressed, apparently in secondary use and without any binding agent. A crushed chalk floor abutted one of the walls.
In Area G, a church was excavated, with mosaic floors and inscriptions that were partially cleared in past excavations (Druks 1965; Eisenberg 1974). The church has a basilical plan and includes a narthex, nave, aisles and apse. Mosaic pavements decorated with colorful geometric patterns were uncovered (Fig. 16). West of the church were rooms and installations, including a large oven or tabun. South of the church, separated from it by a corridor, were two rows of rooms, some paved with white mosaic and some contained plastered installations. Two phases were identified in the rooms; in the later phase the floors were raised and in two rooms benches were added along the walls.
In Area G1, a complex of pottery kilns was found in a good state of preservation (Fig. 17), in which three phases of use were identified. The complex comprises a large kiln, a smaller one east of it and a service room between them, servicing both kilns. The round stoking chamber of the large kiln was built inside a rectangular stone structure. In the two earlier phases, the stoking opening was on the east, facing the service room, but in the last phase was moved to the western side. The smaller, oval kiln preserves part of the firing chamber floor, which seals the stoking chamber. Between the kilns, a flight of steps leads to an underground service room. Two opposite openings in the room, constructed of ashlars, allowed feeding combustibles into the stoking chambers of the two kilns. To the east and northeast of the kilns, above the Roman-period peristyle building, three or four circular pools of varying sizes were excavated, some paved with stones; channels and clay pipes fed two of the pools. The pools seem to have served as levigation pools for the clay used in the pottery manufacture. To the south and southeast of the kilns, much kiln waste was found. In the northeastern part of the area, east of the oil press from Stratum 10 (which may have continued in use in this stratum as well), a lever-and-screw type oil press was discovered (Fig. 10: in orange), in which two weights were preserved in situ, as well as fragments of the crushing and pressing installations.
In Area G2, above the Late Roman street and oil press, a complex winery, and south of it a pottery kiln, were built in the Byzantine period. The northern part of the winery was destroyed when the road was constructed under the British Mandate. It comprises a treading floor, a square filtration pit and a collecting vat. The treading floor, pit and vat were paved with white mosaic, and their sides plastered with reddish hydraulic plaster. Around the treading floor were found traces of two or three additional floors and two chambers built under them. The stoking chamber of the kiln is round, similar to that of the large kiln in Area G1 (above).
The Middle Ages (Stratum 13). In Area G, in the northern part of the pit from Stratum 10 (above), some 20 finely carved, decorated architectural elements were found, made of hard limestone, and bearing masons’ marks. Their size and quality make it clear that they were made for or were removed from a public building and date from the Crusader period. A round lime kiln, dating from the Mamluk period, was found in one of the Byzantine rooms south of the church. In the kiln and around it pieces of burnt limestone were found.
The Ottoman–British Mandate periods (Stratum 14). In Area E, part of the cemetery of Qalunya village was excavated (Fig. 18). About 140 graves were exposed, including one double-chambered family tomb, over 30 single-chamber family tombs and dozens of pit and cist graves. All the graves lie on an east-west axis. The double-chambered family tomb is a rectangular, dry-built structure of field stones that includes two identical spaces with a separate entrance and a niche for collecting bones in the west. The single-chamber tombs have an oval, stone-built chamber covered by a stone gable or a stone vault, sometimes by both; in some cases, niches for collecting bones were added. The entrances to both types of family tombs were fixed in the east, reached by two stone steps that descend from the surface. The entrances were blocked by stone slabs that would be moved with each new burial. The pit and cist graves were dug in the ground. Both types were covered by stone slabs. The floor of all the types of graves and tombs was left unpaved. The deceased were laid east-west, their head to west and their face to south, toward Mecca, according to Muslim tradition. The family tombs showed that the latest individuals to be buried were laid in articulation next to the northern side of the chamber, and the bones of earlier burials were collected on the south side and in the niches. The finds included intact ceramic ibriq jugs, local and imported perfume bottles, and an assortment of bracelets, finger rings, earrings and beads, made of copper, iron, glass and stone. Most of the finds derive form the family tombs. The southwestern part of the cemetery was not damaged and there three tombstones with inscriptions have been preserved. The use of the cemetery ceased with the abandonment of the village in 1948. Segments of the Jerusalem-Yafo road, constructed in 1943 over part of the cemetery, were identified in Areas E2 and G2.
Summary. The results of the excavations corroborate the results of earlier excavations at the site, showing the existence of a large settlement in the PPNB, which was reduced in size in the PN but rebounded with intensity in the Early Chalcolithic. Remains of an IB settlement were found as well. The site was resettled in the Middle-Roman period, and it seems that it should be identified with the Emmaus (later called Colonia), founded by Vespasian and settled by 800 army veterans following the suppression of the First Jewish Revolt. Apart from the insula discovered in an earlier excavation (Area B1; Bar-Nathan et al. 2020:353–356), the most impressive architectural remains are of the peristyle building discovered in Area G1, which was either a public building or was owned by someone of high status. The wealthy character of the settlement is evident also in the colonnaded street and other buildings and installations. Part of it was abandoned in the first third of the second century CE, perhaps following the Ben-Kusbah (Bar-Kokhba) revolt, but other parts, including the peristyle building and the street continued in use, with modifications, into the fourth century CE. In the Byzantine period, a prosperous agricultural settlement with a church at its center existed on the site and seems to have served also as a way station on the road from Yafo to Jerusalem. East and west of the church were pottery kilns and a complex winery, while west and southwest of the settlement, wide retaining walls and meager field walls evidence the agricultural activities of the inhabitants. The Roman and Byzantine remains were damaged during the construction of the highway. Data gathered from the cemetery of Qalunya elucidate local burial customs that were combined with the main Muslim burial rites, add information on local material culture and allows for a comparison with that of other rural sites, urban centers and concentrations of nomads.