Late Roman Period (second–fourth centuries CE). A section excavated beneath the bedding of a mosaic floor from the Byzantine period (below) unearthed a plastered basin; the basin’s floor was paved with a limestone mosaic, and its walls were coated with gray plaster. The excavation extended beneath the basin floor, but it had to be suspended due to technical limitations. Pottery sherds from the Late Roman period, fragments of tubuli from a bathhouse and chunks of plaster retaining traces of red paint were retrieved from the basin and from the section excavated beneath it.
Byzantine Period (fourth–seventh centuries CE). Remains of a mosaic floor, with an inserted jar whose upper part was truncated were discovered. The floor lay on a bedding of small stones, which sealed the Roman-period basin. Pottery fragments
and glass shards, including broken window panes, dating from the Byzantine period were found on the floor. Above the floor was a level rich in rhomboid marble opus sectile (Fig. 2) fragments that were probably used for paving floors and decorating walls in a building that did not survive. Also found were marble artifacts—pilaster capitals, an element from a round window and broken paving slabs; stone artifacts—a millstone and a fragment of a smoothed tablet incised with several Hebrew letters that have not been deciphered yet; and fragments of colored plaster. The floor and the finds above it were covered with dark gray accumulations.
Crusader Period (twelfth–early thirteenth centuries CE). An underground vault was unearthed (length over 3.5 m, width 1.6 m, max. height 1.55 m); its eastern and upper parts were destroyed. Remains of walls and a floor encountered over the top of the vault indicate that it was an underground space in a large building, which did not survive. The vault’s foundations were set on a floor of tamped earth and lime; the floor lay over the accumulations above the Byzantine-period remains, but its date could not be determined. An excavation of the vaulted space yielded loose layers of gray soil, covering darker layers that were rich in organic matter and included animal bones, some of which were burnt. Soil samples taken from this level were found to contain the eggs of intestinal parasites. Pottery vessels, glass vessels and coins were also found, all dating from the Crusader period.
Potsherds dating from the Hellenistic to the Ottoman periods were recovered from the deposits above the destroyed vault and up to topsoil, attesting to the destruction of the installation in a later period. This layer also yielded two ballista stones, a rolled lead plate with incised marks, which have not been deciphered yet, and a glass weight dating from the Fatimid period (eleventh century CE).
During the Late Roman and Byzantine periods, the area lay within the city of ‘Akko-Ptolemais. The Roman-period remains attest to the presence of a bathhouse, possibly part of a wealthy household. The opus sectile fragments and pilaster capitals suggest that a public building, possibly a church, stood here during the Byzantine period; the fragmentary Hebrew inscription may hint to the existence nearby a public building that served the city’s Jewish community. The vault attests to building in this area during the Crusader period. The finds from the vaulted space show that it was used as a septic pit, probably in a residential building.