During October–November 2006, a trial excavation was conducted in the Rambam Hospital compound, at Bat Gallim in Haifa (Permit No. A-4930*; map ref. NIG 198843–903/748670–745; OIG 148843–903/248670–745), after antiquities were discovered during probe trenching. The excavation, carried out on behalf of the Antiquities Authority and financed by the Rambam Healthcare Campus, was directed by K. Sa‘id, with the assistance of P. Neuman (area supervision), S. Ya‘aqov-Jam (administration), A. Hajian (surveying and drafting), T. Sagiv (field photography), P. Gendelman (ceramic consultation), I. Reznikov (pottery drawing) and P. Spivak (flint processing).
The excavation area lies in the northwestern part of Haifa, which is considered by many scholars to be the historic Haifa, extending between the German Colony and the Rambam Hospital.
The antiquities inspection files from the 1950s have descriptions of ancient buildings that were discovered in the region when foundations for new buildings were dug. The site had been mentioned in previous surveys (HA 17, 1966:22 [Hebrew]; Map of Haifa – West , Sites 12–14) and excavations in recent years (Permit Nos. A-2869, A-3014; License Nos. B-163/1998, B-251/2000) revealed building remains and installations from the Byzantine and Early Islamic periods.
Three excavation areas were opened (525 sq m; Fig. 1).
The remains of a plaster floor (L100) that was founded on a layer of stones and ground kurkar were uncovered in the southeastern corner of the site.
Areas B, C
On the western side of the area, two outer walls of a large building (11.5 × 19.5 m) were exposed. One of the walls (W356) was oriented northeast-southwest and formed a corner with the other wall (W362), which was perpendicular to it and aligned southeast-northwest (Fig. 2). The walls, built of a cast of small and medium-sized fieldstones mixed with bonding material, were set on top of bedrock and preserved four courses high. Remains of a room were discovered in the southern part of the building. Three of its walls had survived: W225 and its continuation W357, W227 in the east and W351 in the west (Fig. 3). North of this room were the remains of two other interior walls, oriented northeast-southwest; the first (W230) was built of ashlars and the second (W223) consisted of fieldstones mixed with bonding material. A robber trench is all that survived of another wall, similarly aligned, in the eastern part of the building (Sq E3).
Remains of plaster floors and the beddings of other floors that did not survive were exposed. On the eastern side of the robbed wall were the remains of a plaster floor, founded on a layer of small fieldstones (Sq E3; L206; Fig. 4). To the west of the wall was the small fieldstone bedding of a floor (Sq E4; L216) and small fieldstones to the north of the robber trench were part of a plaster floor that was not preserved (Sqs F3, G3; Loci 201, 209). A floor bedding of small fieldstones (Sq G4; L229) abutted the western side of W230 and was also found to its southeast (Sq G4; L228). The remains of another floor bedding (Sq H5; L221) were located east of W223.
Fragments of pottery vessels that included bowls (Fig. 5:1, 4, 8–10, 12) and jars (Fig. 5:15), which dated to the Byzantine period (sixth–seventh centuries CE), were found above and below the floors of the building. The fill in the walls yielded fragments of pottery vessels that included bowls (Fig. 5:2, 3, 5–7, 11) and jars (Fig. 5:13, 14, 16) from the same period, as well as a hand axe (Fig. 6), characteristic of the Lower Paleolithic period.
The excavation exposed parts of a large building that dated to the Byzantine period and was divided into rooms. The remains of the building corroborate the researchers’ assumption regarding the location of ancient Haifa.