Yoqne‘am Section. This section of the road is paved in the valley, far from Tel Yoqne‘am. Two sites with flint finds were documented in the survey (Fig. 2: 1, 2).
1. Ha-Zorea‘ site (northeast; Raban 2000: Site 15). Unidentified flint flakes were found.
2. Flint tools and flakes characteristic of the Mousterian culture of the Middle Paleolithic period were gathered from the soil of the valley, in an area where fish ponds were built.
Tel Zariq Section. The road near Tel Zariq returns west close to the boundary where the valley meets Ramot Menashe. The spread of the remains opposite the tell was surveyed and two prehistoric sites were found (Fig. 2: 3, 4) on the bank of Nahal Gahar.
3. Finds dating from the Chalcolithic to the Ottoman periods are known on Tel Zariq (Raban 2000: Site 47; HA-ESI 110:28*). Architectural elements were documented in the survey, among them a column and elements from the doorways of houses. Habitation levels and architectural remains were reported in trial trenches previously dug next to and east of the modern road. In the survey, flint tools from the Neolithic period and Wadi Rabah culture and potsherds from the Neolithic, Chalcolithic, Bronze Age, Hellenistic and Roman periods were found. The potsherd scatter in the fields extends as far as c. 200 m east of the road.
4. A new site was documented on the southern bank of Nahal Gahar where flint tools and flakes from the Middle Paleolithic and Neolithic periods were found, among them elements characteristic of the Wadi Rabah culture. Here too the boundaries of the flint scatter extend into the area of the valley to the east.
Mishmar Ha-‘Emeq Section. The road in this section continues along the boundary between the valley and the fields. The remains in this part of the survey were bounded by the foot of Tel Shush and three sites were found (Fig. 3: 5–7). Another site (Fig. 3: 8) is located on a spur at the foot of Tel Bar.
5. Burial caves were documented in the section of the road at the foot of Tel Shush. Remains of walls and buildings are evident in the section of the road north and south of the tell. Numerous potsherds from Middle Bronze Age II until the Ottoman period were documented in both places (Raban 2000: Sites 72–74). Three concentrations of flint tools from the Early Bronze Age and a large scatter of potsherds from the Bronze Age, Hellenistic, Roman, Byzantine, Mamluk and Ottoman periods were identified in the fields east of the road. They were spread over a distance of c. 100–150 m east of the road.
6. A sherd scatter in fields southeast of the tell. One potsherd dated to the Iron Age, whereas many others were from the Roman and Byzantine periods.
7. Flint tools and potsherds scattered in fields across an extensive area, c. 200–800 m east of the road. The flint finds are from the Middle Paleolithic and Neolithic periods and the ceramic finds are from the Hellenistic, Roman and Byzantine periods and include fragments of imported amphorae.
8. A farming terrace and a potsherd scatter from the Roman and Byzantine periods.
Megiddo Section. The archaeological remains in this section were found in a geographic sequence, extending from ‘Enot Nisanit to Megiddo Junction. The areas with antiquities are broad and stretch for hundreds of meters into the valley. Some of the sites are officially declared antiquities sites and some were identified in the survey (Fig. 4: 9–23).
9. The ‘Enot Nisanit site was surveyed in the past (Raban 2000: Site 130; ESI 18:40–41); it was ascertained that its boundaries extend into the orchards and fields beyond the topographical borders of the site, sometimes as far as c. 600 m east of the road. The flint tools date to the Pre-Pottery Neolithic and Chalcolithic periods and the potsherds date to the Chalcolithic, Bronze, Iron, Persian, Hellenistic, Roman, Byzantine, Mamluk and Ottoman periods. Fragments of roof tiles, tubuli from a bathhouse and pieces of white and colored mosaic pavements were also found. Remains from the Bronze Age, including a burial ceramic jar, were found west of Highway 66. The tops of walls and finds from the Roman and Byzantine periods were recorded in trial trenches, dug in the area south of the approach road leading to Moshav Ha-Yogev. A limekiln dating to the Roman period was exposed in an excavation close to Ha-Yogev Junction (HA-ESI 119). A prehistoric habitation level from the Pre-Pottery Neolithic period, with a hewn and built well in its center, was exposed in excavations of a strip west of the road near Ha-Yogev Junction. A habitation level from the Late Chalcolithic period was exposed northwest of the junction and tombs, as well as burial caves dating to the Intermediate and Late Bronze Ages, and the Roman period and the modern era, were exposed on top of a forested spur (Permit No. A-6584).
10. An extensive antiquities site located west and east of Highway 66 and at the northern foot of Tel Megiddo. A known site at ‘En Orez within its precincts had previously been surveyed; flint tools from the Neolithic period and flint tools and potsherds from the Chalcolithic period and Early Bronze Age were found (Raban 2000: Site 142). Flint tools from similar periods and pottery scattered across a large area, including potsherds from the Middle and Late Bronze and Iron Ages, and the Roman, Byzantine, Early Islamic and Ottoman periods, were documented in the vicinity of the spring. An aqueduct built of stone sections, a pool whose sides consist of pieces of roof tiles and several tops of walls and habitation levels were exposed in a modern drainage channel. A topographic terrace was documented in the southern part of the site; in the fields around it is a scatter of flint tools from the Pre-Pottery Neolithic period and pottery vessels from the Neolithic, Chalcolithic, Early, Intermediate and Middle Bronze Ages, Iron Age, and the Roman and Byzantine periods. Fragments of basalt grinding stones, roof tiles and terracotta pipes were recorded. The results of the survey indicated that the site extends across a large area in the west, as far as the foot of Tell Megiddo. Habitation levels and the tops of walls were identified in a local channel. Among the finds documented were flint tools, stone artifacts, including an alabaster vessel, animal bones and potsherds from the Middle and Late Bronze and Iron Ages, several potsherds from the Roman and Byzantine periods and a fragment of industrial glass. Archaeological remains were also found a considerable distance from the road, as far away as c. 350 m to the east.
11. This is a large area with ancient remains located northwest and east of Highway 66. ‘En Megiddo is a known site in the area and settlement remains, flint tools and potsherds from the Chalcolithic period, Early Bronze Age I, Iron Age II and the Roman period were reported (Raban 2000: Site 144). Due to technical limitations, the remains were not documented in the undergrowth at the spring and along the stream channel. Flint tools dating to the Pre-Pottery Neolithic, Pottery Neolithic, Wadi Rabah culture, Chalcolithic and Early Bronze Age were documented in the fields to the northwest, east and southeast. Potsherds from the Chalcolithic, Early and Intermediate Bronze Ages, and the Hellenistic, Roman, Byzantine, Early Islamic periods and a basalt grinding tool and tesserae were also documented. On the basis of the potsherds, the site extends 750 m northeast and east of Highway 66.
12. Two known archaeological sites, Ain el-Qabah (South; Raban 2000: Site 149) and Tel Megiddo (East; Raban 2000: Site 148), are on a “rock platform” on stony hills east of Tel Megiddo. Raban suggested that they are a single large site of an open settlement east of Tel Megiddo (see also Finkelstein et al. 2006: Sites 31, 33). Flint tools from the Pottery Neolithic period, Wadi Rabah culture, Chalcolithic period and Middle Bronze Age and pottery from the Chalcolithic, Early and Middle Bronze Ages, Iron Age, Roman, Byzantine, Crusader and Mamluk periods, as well as fragments of basalt grinding vessels, limestone basins, glass vessels, tesserae and a coin, were documented. Other identified finds included stone heaps, the tops of walls, cupmarks and extraction installations on rock outcrops. Blocked cave openings were documented on the southern slope. Stone quarries where two round stones that might be roll-stones are located and twelve shaft openings, probably of burial caves, were documented on a hill northwest of the site.
13. The fringes of Tel Megiddo were surveyed on a topographically lower terrace, on both sides of the modern road. Walls and potsherds from the Bronze Age, caves, installations and an aqueduct leading to Legio, excavated by the Chicago expedition, were documented (Lemon and Shipton 1939: Plate 1). Leveled ground with a low hill at its center is located to the east of the road. Pottery was documented as far as 200 m east of Highway 66, including potsherds from the Chalcolithic, Early Bronze, Roman, Byzantine and Early Islamic periods, as well as basalt grinding tools.
Previous surveys did not record archaeological remains on the lower terrace, on a low level southwest of the “rock platform”. The current survey documented six sites in the valley, including three at the foot of the hills (14, 16, 17) and three alongside ravines that drain runoff from the “rock platform” to the Nahal Qini channel (15, 18, 19).
14. A wall built of limestone boulders was documented on the surface, without ceramic finds.
15. A scatter of building stones, flint and potsherds from the Chalcolithic period.
16. Tops of walls, flint tools from the Chalcolithic period and potsherds from the Early Bronze Age, Iron Age and the Roman period.
17. Tops of walls and localized levels of small stones, flint tools and potsherds from the Chalcolithic period, as well as pottery from the Early Bronze Age. Potsherds from the Hellenistic and Early Roman periods were found in a modern channel.
18. A potsherd scatter across a large area, flint tools from the Neolithic period, Wadi Rabah culture and potsherds from the Neolithic, Chalcolithic, Early Bronze, Roman and Byzantine periods.
19. A potsherd scatter from the Early Bronze Age.
Potsherds from the Chalcolithic period and Early Bronze Age were documented in the past near the Megiddo Junction. Potsherds from the Roman, Byzantine, Early Islamic, Mamluk and Ottoman periods had previously been documented near the buildings of an Ottoman mill close to the junction (Raban 2000: Site 169). Four sites were identified in the vicinity of Megiddo Junction—a large Roman site west of Nahal Qini (20) and three small sites east and south of the stream and south of Megiddo Junction (21–23).
20. Fields bounded on the east, south and west by the Nahal Qini channel were surveyed. Finds dating mainly to the Roman period (first–fourth centuries CE) were identified close to the road and on either side of it. Previous excavations were conducted in the eastern part of the site and to the west (HA-ESI 109:35*–36*; HA-ESI 124) and assemblages from the Roman period were documented in them. It was suggested in an earlier survey (HA-ESI 115:29*–31*) that the camp of Legio VI Ferrata was located at the site in the second–third centuries CE and a large civilian settlement around it dated to the Roman and Early Byzantine periods. Walls built of fieldstones and ashlars were documented on the slopes of the hill, in modern drainage channels north of the site, on a hill west of the road, along dirt roads to the south and north of the hill and on the lower part east of the road. Potsherds dating to the Roman and Early Byzantine period, numerous pieces of roof tiles, among them tiles bearing the imprint of the legion, metal objects, fragments of glass vessels, pieces of marble and a coin were found.
21. A scatter of potsherds on the soil in the valley, north of Megiddo Junction and east of Nahal Qini. The potsherds dated to the Hellenistic and Roman periods.
22. A wall built of large fieldstones c. 100 m southeast of Megiddo Junction. Potsherds from the Roman period were identified in the survey.
23. Rock-hewn installations were documented along the fringes of the hill of the Megiddo police facilities (HA-ESI 118). Roman-period potsherds were identified in the western side of the road, extending south from the Megiddo Junction.
Archeological remains were documented in the survey according to the development plans and widening of the road, and several new sites were found; most of the finds aid in identifying the boundaries of four main sites in the fields of the Jezreel Valley, Tel Zariq, Tel Shush, ‘Enot Nisanit and Tel Megiddo. Flint and potsherds were found at Tel Zariq in a large area around the tell. A similar settlement pattern was found at Tel Shush around the tell, but another separate site was identified in the valley where flint artifacts from the Middle Paleolithic and Neolithic periods and potsherds mainly from the Hellenistic period were documented. The boundaries of the antiquities areas in the sites at ‘Enot Nisanit and ‘En Orez extend uninterrupted into the orchards and fields that surround the sites.
The picture around Tel Megiddo is more complicated, particularly because of the multitude of sites and the size of the inhabited area. It was determined in the survey that the borders of the tell are indeed larger than its topographical outline; several open daughter sites were found scattered on three topographic terraces east and south of Tel Megiddo, and a large site from the Roman and Byzantine periods was located south of the tell. Settlement remains ranging in date almost continuously from the Early Bronze to the Iron Ages were found in sites next to Tel Megiddo, as well as artifacts from the Neolithic and Chalcolithic periods. On terraces to the south and southeast, as far as the “rock platform”, finds mainly from the Early Bronze Age, without any finds from the Iron Age, were documented. In the valley at the foot of the “rock platform” and near Nahal Qini, other sites with finds from the Neolithic and Chalcolithic periods and Early Bronze Age, were documented. A large site that stands out prominently in this array of settlements was documented on three terraces and dates to the Early Bronze Age. However, potsherds and finds from the Roman and Byzantine periods were found in the entire region east and south of the tell. The survey conditions did not make it possible to determine with certainty if these are a scatter of field potsherds, evidence of settlement sites, installations or burials. It seems that the proximity to the main sites from these periods allows us to assume that all of these possibilities are plausible. The main site from the Roman and Byzantine periods is located near modern-day Megiddo Junction. The survey finds from the hill near Megiddo Junction, west and east of the modern road, between Tel Megiddo and Megiddo Junction, were dated to the Roman period, first–fourth centuries CE. The roof tiles bearing Roman military stamped impressions reinforce the proposal that the Legio VI Ferrata camp was at the site. The distribution of the Roman and Early Byzantine period finds across a large area in the fields underscores the suggestion that a civilian settlement was situated alongside the legion’s camp (Tepper 2007).
On the basis of the survey results we suggest that the borders of the main sites along the boundary between Ramot Menashe and the Jezreel Valley should be extended to beyond the limits of the large tells. This phenomenon is known and documented at sites from the Hellenistic period onward, but the survey seems to indicate a similar settlement pattern in earlier periods as well. It also seems that settlements existed outside the topographical boundaries of the tells in the Neolithic, Chalcolithic, Bronze Age and Iron Age. These sites were on level ground in the valley, close to sources of water, but at a topographic disadvantage. The finds show that sites were situated there throughout long historical periods and all of this adds to our knowledge about human settlement in the Jezreel Valley.