The tell (c. 5 dunams) is located to the south of Kibbutz T
vi. Surveys were conducted in and around the tell in the past (Zori 1962; Zertal 1996; 2005; Kohn-Tavor 2014
: Site 55
; Albright 1924–1925). Excavations at the site (Goldschmidt 1973; Har’el 2013
, and see background and additional references there) uncovered, among other finds, the remains of a synagogue that contained a mosaic pavement dated to the late sixth century CE depicting a seven-branched menorah and a shofar
. The synagogue is located to the south of a small village dating from the Byzantine period (fifth or sixth century CE) that extended to the north and west of the tell. A sixth milestone, which probably stood on the Roman road between Scythopolis and the Legio VI Ferrata’s camp at Tel Shalem, was documented near the village.
The excavation (Fig. 1), conducted in and beneath the synagogue remains, reached down to the remains of a previously excavated Iron Age building (Goldschmidt 1975) with the aim of removing some of the mosaic’s bedding prior to the preservation of the synagogue and the installing of new bedding for a replica of the mosaic in place of the original, which was removed in the past.
The Iron Age Building. Previously uncovered remains of the Iron Age building were re-excavated. One of the building’s rooms, enclosed by four walls (W1–W4; Figs. 2, 3), contained a floor (L13) made of small, flat stones; two sections were preserved, in the west and in the south. A soil accumulation (L12) covering the floor was overlain by large, dressed limestone and basalt stones (L11) that probably collapsed from W3.
The Synagogue. Sections of the bedding of the building’s previously excavated mosaic floor were uncovered (Figs. 4, 5). The bedding was composed of a layer of small pebbles (L7) that lay on a layer of light gray plaster mixed with small body fragments of Byzantine-period jars (L8). The soil fill beneath the bedding (L10) yielded a few Middle Bronze Age potsherds (not drawn). The mosaic floor was probably delimited by the outer walls of the Iron Age building, whose walls may have served as foundation walls for the synagogue’s outer walls, but these were not preserved.
* The author passed away before he was able to see the final version of the article.