During September 2003 a trial excavation was conducted at the top of the southeastern slope of the Nahf village (Permit No.
A-3995*; map ref. NIG 230/760; OIG 180/260), prior to the construction of a private dwelling. The excavation, on behalf of the Antiquities Authority, was directed by Y. Tepper, with the assistance of A. Dadush (administration), V. Essman and V. Pirsky (surveying), I. Berin (drafting), D. Avshalom-Gorni (pottery reading), H. Tahan (drawing), L. Kupershmidt (metallurgical laboratory), D. Syon (numismatics) and laborers provided by the contractor.
The ancient site of Nahf is located on a hilltop northeast of Karmi’el and north of it is a perennial spring. Previous excavations in the village uncovered remains that dated to the Early Bronze Age, Hellenistic and Roman periods and a pottery workshop from the end of the Roman and beginning of the Byzantine periods (Fig. 1; HA-ESI 117; F. Vitto, The Western Galilee Antiquities, 1986: 451–456 [Hebrew]). Remains from the Intermediate Bronze Age and from the Persian to the Ottoman periods were recorded in a survey.
A single square was excavated in an open lot at the top of a bedrock ledge, revealing two strata (Fig. 2).
Stone and soil collapse, dating to the Hellenistic period, was excavated atop bedrock. Pottery vessels were found in and above the collapse, including a mortarium (Fig. 3:1), jars of Phoenician tradition (Fig. 3:2, 3, 6), bowls (Fig. 3:4, 5) and a lamp fragment (Fig. 3:7) from the Hellenistic period, as well as a fragment of a basalt bowl, a grinding stone (Fig. 3:13, 14) and a loom weight (Fig. 3:15). In addition, potsherds that belonged to types of vessels, produced in the pottery workshop at Kefar Hananiya and dated to the Early Roman period, among them kraters (Fig. 3:8, 10) were also recovered. Two coins were found. The first dated to the reign of Antiochus III (200–187 BCE; IAA 106074) from the mint of ‘Akko and the second belonged to the Ptolemaic dynasty (third century BCE; IAA 106073).
Mixed finds were discovered between surface and the top of the collapse. These included bowls from the Byzantine period (Fig. 3:9, 11) and a brown-glazed bowl from the Mamluk period (Fig. 3:12).
Potsherds from Early Bronze Age II, the Iron Age and the Persian period were also discovered in both strata.
The Early Roman period (first century CE) remains found on bedrock are indicative of a building that was at the top of the hill. It can reasonably be assumed that it was first constructed in the Hellenistic period (third–second centuries BCE). This may allude to changes the region underwent with the Hasmonean conquest in the second century BCE, but also to a settlement that existed thereafter. The finds from the excavation show that the settlement on the upper part of the village's southeastern slope reached its peak during the Hellenistic period. Based on the scant, single-period accumulation of remains in this part of the village, it can be posited that the location of the multiple-period settlement should be sought elsewhere at the site, possibly near the spring.