Stratum III

. A settlement layer from the Persian period was revealed below surface. Fragmentary building and installation remains were damaged owing to their close proximity to surface. Numerous fragments of pottery vessels, a red-painted ceramic figurine of a pregnant woman (Fig. 1) and a jar handle, bearing the seal impression “יהוד יהועזר פחוא” (Fig. 2) were found.


A fill layer was detected in several places below the Persian-period layer; it included finds from the Late Bronze Age, such as three steatite scarabs (Fig. 3) that clearly date to this period. The fill seems to have been taken from the settlement remains of this period that were on the bottom terraces of the tell for the purpose of construction in the Persian period.


Stratum IV.

An Iron Age II settlement layer was exposed below the remains of Stratum III. Midway up the slope of the tell a rectangular casemate wall (width of the walls 1.5 m) was unearthed. Part of this wall was already uncovered during the 1997 season in Area G and it appears to have encircled the tell. The casemate rooms (room width 4.5 m) had a plaster floor, overlain with mud-brick collapse, the remains of carbonized wooden beams and numerous potsherds from the 9th century BCE. The calibrated age determined by the 14Carbon analysis of the samples from the wooden beam remains is 900–810 BCE. At the eastern end of the city wall was a pit that destroyed this section of the wall and the casemate room.


North of the casemate wall and beyond the settlement perimeter were several installations. A large stone-built silo (diam. 2 m) coated with a thick plaster layer and next to it, the remains of two ovens with large amounts of ash in and around them, indicating their prolonged use. The installations belonged to this stratum, judging by the ceramic finds they contained.


A rectangular installation (more than 3 m long, width 2.5 m) that was not entirely excavated was located to the south of the casemate wall. The installation consisted of a thick plaster floor, surrounded with narrow mud-brick walls that were preserved to a maximum of 0.20–0.25 m high. A small ceramic pipe extended out from the northeastern corner of the installation, which may have been the treading surface of a winepress. Close by the installation a small bronze figurine of the god Bes (Fig. 4) was found and near it was a long bronze knife or sword (length c. 0.25 m).