During July 1998, July 1999 and July 2000 the ninth, tenth and eleventh excavation seasons were conducted at Nah
al Barqai (G-28/98, G-63/99, G-10/00; map ref. NIG 1838/6279; OIG 1338/1279; HA–ESI
110), on behalf of Bar Ilan University and sponsored by the Yo’av Regional Council, Bar Ilan University, Claremont University and McGill University. Qibbuz
em provided accommodations for the expedition. S. Givon directed the excavation, with the assistance of T. Schneider and W. Kriger (area supervision 1998), M. Goldman, D. Inbar and R. Byrne (area supervision 1999–2000), K. Maeyama and J. Du-Toit (registration), A. Feldstein (surveying and drafting), D. Inbar (sections drawing), E. Karon (pottery restoration), M. Rappaport (pottery and special finds drawing). Students from Claremont University in California, headed by T. Schneider, participated in the 1998 season; students from McGill University in Montreal, Canada, headed by B. Levy, participated in the 1999–2000 seasons.
The excavation during the three seasons was conducted in Area H, on the northwestern side of the tell. In 1998, eight squares were excavated at the bottom of the slope in the northern part of the area and in the 1999 and 2000 seasons, eight more squares were opened at the top of the slope in the southern section of the area. Two habitation layers, one from the Persian period (Stratum III) and the other from Iron Age II (Stratum IV), were discovered. Finds from the Late Bronze Age were recovered from the fill below 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.
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 14
Carbon 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).