During December 2002 a salvage excavation was conducted at the Nahal Siah south site, on the southwestern outskirts of Haifa (Permit No. A-3801*; map ref. NIG 19725/74510; OIG 14725/24510), in the wake of damage to antiquities caused during work by the Electric Company. The excavation, on behalf of the Antiquities Authority and financed by the Electric Company, was directed by K. Sa‘id and Z. Horovich, assisted by A. Lalush (administration), V. Essman (surveying) and M. Shuiskaya-Arnov (pottery drawing).
The site is located on the western side of King Solomon Street, next to the Kefar Samir cemetery, c. 700 m north of H
orbat Castra. The excavation was carried out in the western section of a trench (width 5 m, depth 4 m) where two damaged shaft tombs from the Intermediate Bronze Age were discovered. Another tomb from the same period had previously been excavated nearby (HA-ESI 117
Tomb T1 (Fig. 1)
The eastern side of the burial chamber was damaged by the development work; however, it was still possible to discern its architectural components. A shaft that was hewn from the surface (depth 2 m) in hard nari bedrock at the top and in soft qirton bedrock below accessed the tomb. The upper part of the shaft had a square cross-section with rounded corners (L102; 1.3 × 1.7 m) and further down it became narrower and circular (diam. 0.8 m). At the bottom of the shaft was an opening that faced east and was sealed by a partially worked rolling stone. The passage from the shaft into the burial chamber was via a short sloping corridor.
The eastern half of the kidney-shaped burial chamber (Loci 100, 101) was damaged. The floor had two levels; the northern level (L101) was 0.2 m lower than the southern one (L100). The ceiling over the two parts of the burial chamber had the shape of two intersecting vaults. Based on the shape of the ceiling and the two levels of the burial chamber it seems that initially, the chamber consisted of the northern side and later on, was expanded to the south.
The chamber yielded pottery vessels, with no anthropological remains. Two intact teapots of different types were on the northern side of the floor. One was the thin grained amphoriskos-type teapot with a long neck (Fig. 2:1) and the second was a coarse-grained globular teapot with a short neck (Fig. 2:2). A teapot spout (Fig. 2:3) and the upper part of an amphoriskos (Fig. 2:4) were also present.
Tomb T2 (Fig. 3)
The tomb, 50 m south of T1, was severely damaged by the development work and its entire architectural plan could not be reconstructed.
The tomb was entered by way of a shaft hewn from the surface (1.9 m deep). Its upper part was cut through the hard nari bedrock and its continuation was quarried in soft qirton. The shaft had a round cross-section (L105; diam. 1 m) and an opening at its bottom faced south. Passage from the shaft to the burial chamber was direct, without a corridor and down a single step that facilitated the descent into the chamber. The preserved western part of the chamber indicates it was elliptical (c. 1.3 × 3.1 m).
The chamber’s floor was hewn in two levels, the northern side being slightly higher than the southern one. The ceiling, 1.8 m above the floor, was vaulted. On the southern side of the shaft was another hewn recess (L104) whose relation to the tomb is unclear, owing to modern damage that largely destroyed it. The tomb apparently consisted of two burial chambers and the modern fill inside them was devoid of ancient finds.
The two tombs are ascribed to the Intermediate Bronze Age, based on their architectural plans and the ceramic finds recovered from them. It appears that the pottery vessels were manufactured according to the northern ceramic tradition, characterized by spherical vessels and the extensive use of the ‘teapot on amphoriskos’ type teapots. The ceramic tradition of the site was inclined toward the central coastal plain region, similar to the finds from Horbat Tawassim near the village of el Fureidis (‘Atiqot 38:1–4), Horbat Ibreiktas and the cemetery at the Barkai Junction. The tombs’ architectural plan resembles that of the tombs on the central coastal plain, and they are especially similar to the Intermediate Bronze Age tombs excavated at Horbat Castra.