Area A1
This area was a single probe that yielded modern refuse.
Area A2
A dwelling exhibiting two building phases was identified. The walls of the earlier phase were founded on sterile hamra soil overlaying sand and were built of a row of ashlars and a row of fieldstones, preserved for the most part only one course high. The walls of the second phase were built mostly of kurkar stones. Some of these walls were constructed on top of walls from the first phase, indicating that the builders of the second phase were well-aware of all or part of the first phase of building. No clear entrance thresholds were found. Two flat beach stones, overlain with small fieldstones, were found in two of the walls, and may be the remains of thresholds that were blocked up. The internal division of the building is unclear, and no floors were found abutting the walls. A supporting pilaster comprising three fieldstones, two of kurkar and one of limestone, lay to the south of one of the walls in the east part of the building. A small refuse pit was dug down to the natural hamra soil, below the level of the walls in the east part of the building. The pit contained potsherds domestic in nature: cooking pots, frying pans and bowls dated to the Early Islamic period and resembling the pottery found in the accumulation layers that covered the building.
Area A3 (Fig. 2)
Building remains and installations belonging to two phases were found c. 50 m east of Area A2.
Phase I, the earlier of the two, was built into sandy soil and consisted of a building and installations. The walls of the building (W360–W362) were constructed of two rows of stones—a row of medium-sized fieldstones (average size 0.2 × 0.3 m), some of which were placed on their narrow side, and a row of smaller fieldstones bonded together with mortar—founded on the sandy soil. A probe dug beside W360 revealed the wall’s foundation: it was built of 2–3 courses of roughly hewn kurkar stones placed on their broad side. Floors of tamped earth mixed with crushed stones abutted the walls. Wall 360 was preserved to the height of a single course above the floor. The lower part of a tabun (L329) founded on the sand was preserved to the east of the walls. To the east of the tabun was an installation (L379) of unclear function. It was built of ashlars with depressions in them and was embedded in a floor of tamped earth mixed with crushed stones. On the floor, surrounding the installation and slightly to its east were small fieldstones. A sounding dug between the installation and the tabun discovered a broad patch of black earth (diam. 1.25 m) that became narrower as it deepened (1 m). Although the shape of this patch of earth resembles a refuse pit, this was not corroborated by the finds; it thus may be a robber trench of a wall. It is reasonable to assume that the tabun and the installation were located in an inner courtyard of a building whose western boundary is marked by W360 and W361.
A surface of small and medium-sized fieldstones whose function remains unclear was unearthed to the north of W360. Its elevation corresponds to that of the walls and of the tabun, but there is no clear connection between them.
The latest potsherds from this phase date from the Mamluk period and include cooking pots, frying pans, storage jars and simple bowls, forming an assemblage that attests to the residential function of this area.
Phase II comprises two features: a surface of fieldstones (c. 50 sq m) which covered the earlier phase, c. 0.5 m above W360; and a fieldstone surface, c. 0.4 m above Installation 379, that contained a fragment of a sandstone hand-mill.
Refuse dumps containing potsherds and numerous animal bones were found c. 15 m to the west of the building remains and c. 20 m to their east. The waste dumps were probably used in both phases of habitation in this area.
Passers-byers at the site have remarked that the ruins were visible on the surface 30 years ago, but as the site is located in an agricultural area that has been plowed over for years now, it is poorly preserved; plow marks were visible on the wall stones in Area A2. Nevertheless, the current excavation is of importance, since it is the first to be conducted at the center of the site, and it unearthed, for the first time, material remains that allow us to determine the nature of the site. The finds date from the Early Islamic and Mamluk periods. No earlier settlement remains were discovered below the strata that were excavated, but surveys indicate that the site was first settled in an earlier era, probably during the Roman period. It is reasonable to assume that the settlement’s nucleus shifted over time, and that the entire site extends over a much larger area than the hill where the excavation was conducted.