During September 2003 a salvage excavation was conducted along the southeastern fringes of the ‘Enot Nisanit site (‘Uyun al-Mansi; Permit No. A-4003*; map ref. 21741/72229; OIG 16741/22229), after antiquities were damaged during the installation of a water pipeline. The excavation, on behalf of the Antiquities Authority and financed by the Meqorot company, was directed by Y. Tepper, with the assistance of A. Dadush (administration), V. Pirsky (surveying), R. Getzov (GPS), D. Avshalom-Gorni (ceramics) and H. Tahan (pottery drawing).
The site extends west and east of the Megiddo–Yoqne‘am road (Fig. 1). It is situated along the fringes of a moderate spur on the upper western part of Al-Mansi, a Turkeman village and temporary camp for immigrants. A Muslim cemetery, used intermittently from the end of the Mamluk period until the time of the village, is located on top of a gentle hill and its slopes, west and east of the Megiddo–Yoqne‘am road. Burial caves are located in the northwestern part of the site; a kokhim burial cave dating to the Roman–Byzantine period was documented (Mandatory Archive, Antiquities Authority). Springs (‘Enot Nisanit and ‘En ‘Uzzi) flow from the fringes of the valley’s soils; flint tools from the Paleolithic period and potsherds from the Persian until the Mamluk periods were found in the cultivated area (Map of Mishmar Ha-‘Emeq , Site 130; ESI 18:40–41).
A circular installation built of burnt limestone was exposed (exterior diam. 5 m, interior diam. 2.5 m, preserved height 0.8 m; Fig. 2). The absence of rich ceramic finds and/or debris heaps indicates it was not a potter’s kiln, but perhaps a limekiln (Fig. 3). Burnt marks were discerned on two exposed courses of large masonry stones (0.30 × 0.35 × 0.50 m). Burnt and cracked small and medium stones (0.10 × 0.15 × 0.15 m) were noted in the eastern section trench. The stones were light gray in color and filled the entire height of the kiln (L105) until a thin layer of ash and the level of a tamped-earth floor. Virgin soil rich in limestone aggregates (L106) was exposed below the floor.
The scant ceramic finds were dated to the Early Roman period, namely the first century BCE–first century CE. The soil above the kiln’s floor contained fragments of Kefar Hananya cooking pots (Types 3 and 4a; Fig. 4:1, 2) and two types of jars: a Sikhin jar with a stepped rim (Fig. 4:3) and a jar from the Yodefat pottery workshop (Fig. 4:4) were found in the layer of the kiln’s floor.
The location of the kiln east of the rocky slopes, in a leveled area of agricultural soil, integrates well with the settlement picture of the region in the Roman period, when the road from the VI Legion Ferrata camp at Legio to ‘Akko (Ptolemais) was paved and aqueducts leading to the legion’s camp were built. The settlement of the legion’s units at Legio, at the end of Emperor Trajan’s reign 98–117 CE, brought about the development and expansion of agricultural areas and settlements in the region. The products derived from the limekiln were usually used for private and public needs, such as agriculture, construction and the building of aqueducts.