During July 2002 and January 2003, two salvage excavations were conducted on the eastern slope of the Tamra village in the Jzre’el valley (Permit Nos. A-3683*, A-3812*; map ref. NIG 2380–9/7263–9; OIG 1880–9/2263–9), in the wake of damage caused to antiquities. The excavations, on behalf of the Antiquities Authority, were directed by L. Porat, with the assistance of V. Essman, A. Hajian and V. Pirsky (surveying and drafting), D. Syon (photography), E.J. Stern (ceramic consultation), Y. Gorin-Rosen (glass) and H. Tahan (pottery drawing).
Two areas were opened on the eastern slope of the hill where Tamra is situated. Three strata were discerned in Area A and a single stratum was revealed in Area B, c. 8 m north of Area A.
Seven salvage excavations had been conducted at Tamra in the past (HA-ESI 109:95*; 113:30*–33*), exposing remains from the Roman, Byzantine, Early Islamic and Mamluk periods (HA-ESI 119: Fig. 1).
Area A (3.5 × 7.5 m; depth 1.2 m; Fig. 1)
Stratum III. Three stones of a north–south aligned wall (W21), which was built of basalt ashlars and set on bedrock, were found. The wall was overlain by another wall (W15). Fragments of pottery vessels and a few fragments of glass vessels, dating to the Umayyad period, were recovered from the fill (L18) alongside W21. A small juglet (Fig. 2:2) was found near the eastern face of W15.
Stratum II. The eastern part of a building (height 1.2 m) was exposed. It consisted of an eastern wall (W12; width 0.93 m) that was severed in the south and three walls (W13, W15, W20; width 0.65–0.70 m), which abutted on its western side and formed two small rooms, a northern (L16) and a southern one (L22). Room 16 had an entrance (width 0.6 m) in the eastern W12. Its floor sealed W21 of the earlier Stratum III. The floor in both rooms consisted of basalt ashlars and hard, light colored soil. Pottery vessels, including a cooking pot (Fig. 2:1) and a few glass fragments that dated to the Umayyad period were found.
Stratum I. It seems the walls (12, 13, 15, 20) of the previous stratum continued to be used and another wall (W17) was built. It is unclear whether the walls were raised higher in this stratum. Walls 12, 13 and 17 formed a northern room (L11) that had an entrance, equipped with a stone threshold (width 1 m) and a flat basalt-ashlar floor (Fig. 3). To the north of the floor was a bell-shaped water cistern (L23) that was not excavated. The damaged floor precluded the determination whether it abutted the edge of the cistern or the cistern’s stonecutters damaged it.
A lamp (Fig. 2:3), dating to the Abbasid period together with the other pottery vessels, was found, in situ, on the stone floor. The middle room (L14) had a hard, light colored soil floor and the remains of a stone floor were found in the western part of the southern room (L19).
Area B (depth 1.2 m; Fig. 4)
Remains of a two-room building were found in a single square. The first room had three walls that were founded directly on bedrock (W22, W23, W24; height 1.2 m, width 0.64–0.67 m) and a floor (L21) that consisted of basalt ashlars and hard, light colored soil. A small tabun (L27; diam. 0.35) was supported by several stones and a small marble column was found on top of the floor, near the eastern wall (W24; Fig. 5). Close to the western wall (W22) was an installation that comprised four stones; two rested on top of the floor and two were leaning on the wall. To the east of the first room, part of the second room (L25) that had a stone floor at the same elevation as that of the western room was excavated.
Adjacent to and north of W23 were several flat stones, 0.6 m above the level of the rooms’ floors; these were probably part of a courtyard pavement.
A few fragmentary pottery vessels (cooking bowls, juglets, glazed bowls), dating to the Abbasid period, were found.
In the wake of work by mechanical equipment, an east–west probe trench was excavated 6 m north of the excavation area. The fill in the trench contained three column fragments (diam. 0.3–0.4 m, length 0.3–0.7 m; Fig. 6).