Area A (Fig. 3). A small square (c. 4 × 4 m) was opened on either side of a terrace wall (W23; Fig. 4), east of the path. The brown topsoil contained several stones in its upper part and more stones in its bottom part, reaching the bedrock. Pottery sherds dating from the Byzantine period to the Ottoman period were collected from the topsoil. A button belonging to a British soldier from a Scottish regiment was found in the fill to the south of the terrace wall. The button bore the name and symbol of the unit ‘The Royal Highlanders—Black Watch’ on its front (Fig. 5:1) and the name of the manufacturer ‘Smith Wright LTD’ on its back (Fig. 5:2). That unit was stationed in the country during World War I (1917–1918) and again in 1937–1939. It seems that the button dates to the latter period because the front lines during World War I were located at a considerable distance from the excavation area.
In Area B, also located to the east of the path, an ancient quarry was exposed in two squares. A wall (W20; Figs. 6, 7) that was built at a later phase in the southern part of the quarry was also exposed. Brown soil mixed with small and medium-sized stones and an underlying layer of quarrying debris were excavated. Pottery sherds dating mainly to the Byzantine and Early Islamic periods and to a lesser extent to the Iron Age were collected. A metal bell bearing an inscription reading ‘VICTORIA NO 22’ set between two small crosses was recovered from the layer of quarrying debris (Fig. 8).
In Area C, west of the path, two squares were excavated, exposing a water channel (Fig. 9). In the northern square, brown soil containing several stones was excavated down to bedrock, where a hewn channel was exposed (Fig. 10). In the southern square were layers of hydraulic plaster that contained numerous small pottery sherds, rendering it a light pink hue (Fig. 11). The layers of plaster probably represent the remains of the floor of a pool or of an installation whose walls did not survive; water might have been conveyed into the pool by means of the hewn channel.
The outline of a water channel was exposed and cleaned on a terrace to the south of the excavation squares and below them. The channel was oriented in an east–west direction and conveyed water from the spring to the fields for irrigation and possibly toward another pool that has not yet been exposed (Fig. 12). The water channel, which was cleaned along c. 17 m, was built at the bottom of the terrace wall, and was hewn in its eastern part. Remains of later renovations that included plastered gray cement were evident in the channel; however, the channel’s core was made of ancient, pink, hydraulic plaster.
The pottery finds date mainly from the Byzantine and Early Islamic periods and to a lesser extent from the Iron Age. Six identifiable coins were found: 351–361 CE (identification uncertain; IAA 143598); Constantius II (355–361 CE; IAA 143597); 383–395 CE (two coins; IAA 143594, 143596); a post-reform Umayyad fals (IAA 143595); and a mil issued by the Anglo-Palestine Bank (1943).
Part of a large reservoir treated with a thick layer of light pink plaster was exposed to the south of Area C, northwest of the fork in the road. Its northern wall was founded on a bedrock terrace. The floor of the reservoir could be traced along c. 6.5 m to the south (Fig. 13). The reservoir’s southern and eastern parts were destroyed, probably when a path was built. Although its outline is unclear, the height of the plaster revealed in a trial trench indicated that it was more than one meter deep. Square tesserae and fragments of roof tiles were found throughout the excavation areas, possibly originating from some sort of public building.
The ceramic assemblage collected from all of the excavation areas is fairly homogenous. It includes bowls (Fig. 14:1–8), some of which are decorated with incising, combing or are painted on the rim and/or body; a lid (Fig. 14:9); a basin (Fig. 14:10); storejars (Fig. 14:11, 12); a holemouth jar (Fig. 14:13); and a mold-made lamp (Fig. 14:14). The assemblage dates to the Byzantine and Umayyad periods (sixth–seventh centuries CE). Other finds include an Iron Age pithos (Fig. 14:15) and a tobacco pipe from the Ottoman period (Fig. 14:16).
The excavation areas near ‘En Lavan seem to indicate intensive human activity that involved the use of water from the spring. The numerous pottery sherds and coins dating to the Early Islamic period found in the floor levels in all the excavation areas indicate the presence of a nearby settlement from this period. The later pottery sherds, from the Ottoman period, and the soldier’s button, bell and coin from the time of the British Mandate document the continued use of the agricultural systems in later periods. Further evidence of this are the gray cement renovations to the ancient water channels as well as historical evidence regarding the use of the irrigation system of the nearby village of Walajeh.