A salvage excavation was conducted in May 2001at the site of Horbat Bet Ha-Gaddi (Permit No. A-3418*; map ref. NIG 163914/592679; OIG 113914/092679), prior to erecting an electric pole. The excavation, on behalf of the Antiquities Authority and financed by the Electric Company, was directed by S. Talis, with the assistance of H. Lavi (administration), V. Essman and V. Pirsky (surveying and drafting) and A. Dodin (pottery drawing).
The excavation area is located c. 1.5 km west of Moshav Bet Ha-Gaddi and next to Horbat Bet Ha-Gaddi. Nearby excavations were conducted in the past by N. Lalkin (HA-ESI 110:82*) and A. Zellin (Permit No. A-3370).
A single square was opened (4.0 × 4.6 m; Fig. 1). Its upper layer was a brown soil fill (thickness c. 0.6 m) mixed with numerous potsherds, slag and mud-brick material, which could possibly be the debris of a pottery workshop that was not discovered. Remains of walls below the upper layer were dated to two phases of the Byzantine period that were characterized by different construction techniques. The building’s floors were not discerned.
Phase 1. Two walls (W10, W11; width 0.64–0.76 m) that formed a corner and were built on virgin soil belonged to this phase. They were built of fieldstones and partly dressed stones and were exposed for a length of 1.5 m (preserved height 0.3–0.5 m). The soil fill (Loci 101, 103) between the walls, which contained finds similar to those of the upper fill layer, was probably a large refuse pit of a pottery workshop that damaged a building, which predated it and whose boundaries extended beyond the limits of the excavation.
Phase 2. Some 0.75 m west of Walls 10 and 11 was another wall (W12; width 0.85 m, length 2.74 m), preserved two courses high (0.48 m) and built on soil fill of large ashlar stones in secondary use that were placed in disarray in the wall’s foundation trench. The finds from the soil fill (L104) in the wall’s foundation trench dated its construction.
The ceramic finds from Loci 101 and 103 include a wide variety of types, dating to the end of the Byzantine period. Most of the vessels in the assemblage are Gaza-type jars that were manufactured in the southern region of the country and were widely distributed throughout the Mediterranean basin (Fig. –16). Fragments of baggy-shaped jars occur in several forms and are characterized by a molded rim and neck (Fig. –12). Two types of bowls were recovered: ‘southern’ bowls that are dated to the seventh century CE (Fig. 2:2) and bowls with a ledged rim, which are common to the end of the Roman and the Byzantine periods throughout the country (Fig. 2:1). The kraters are dated to the sixth and the beginning of the seventh centuries CE (Fig. 2:4–6). In addition, a cooking pot (Fig. 2:7) and cooking kraters (Fig. 2:8) and lids (Fig. 2:9), prevalent in the Byzantine period, as well as an African Red Slip bowl (Fig. 2:3) that is dated to the second half of the sixth century CE, were found.
The pottery vessels from the fill (L104) below W12 included a variety of types common to the Byzantine period in the south of the country: a krater (Fig. 3:1), cooking pots (Fig. 3:2, 3), a cooking krater (Fig. 3:4), a lid (Fig. 3:5) and a typical baggy-shaped jar (Fig. 3:6).
The wall segments discovered in the excavation belonged to a building from the Byzantine period; the ceramic finds from the building can be dated to the end of this period. Although the nature of the building could not be determined due to constraints of the excavation area, it undoubtedly belonged to the ancient settlement of the Byzantine and Early Islamic periods at Horbat Bet Ha-Gaddi.