Three excavation squares were opened (Figs. 2, 3) at a site adjacent to the Zevulun Regional Council House, which was constructed during the British Mandate period. The exaction yielded architectural remains in three strata, dated from the Late Roman (Stratum 3), the Byzantine (Stratum 2) and the Early Islamic (Stratum 1) periods, attesting to the continuous settlement at the site. The pottery retrieved is mixed, and therefore, the dating of the strata was based not only on typological considerations but also on finds from previous excavations conducted nearby. Part of a road from the British Mandate era was also found.
Stratum 3 (Late Roman Period). A wall (W124) built of roughly hewn stones and medium-sized fieldstones was uncovered. A floor (L134) of medium-sized fieldstones was unearthed beneath the wall; it may belong to an earlier stratum. The soil accumulation above the wall and the floor (L106, L119, L130) yielded an imported amphora (Fig. 4:6) and a Phoenician jar (Fig. 4:7) from the first–second centuries CE, a cooking pot from the second–third centuries CE (Fig. 4:5) and potsherds from the third–fourth centuries CE, including a local bowl (Fig. 4:1), a North African bowl (Fig. 4:2), a casserole (Fig. 4:3), a cooking pot ( Fig. 4:4) and a jar (Fig. 4:8).
Stratum 2 (Byzantine Period). Part of a three- or four-roomed building was excavated; its walls (W111, W112, W131, W133) were built of roughly hewn stones and fieldstones. The remains of the building were damaged while laying modern infrastructure. In the east room, a floor made of earth and flat chalk slabs abutted Walls 111 and 133. The room immediately to the west included a tabun (L122), which was set directly on the ground; its walls were made of fired clay. The soil fill above the tabun yielded a mold-made lamp with a Greek inscription on its base (Fig. 5); this may be the stamp of its production workshop. The soil accumulated inside the building (L103, L105, L108, L110, L114, L125, L127) contained pottery from the fifth–sixth centuries CE, including imported Cypriot bowls (Fig. 6:1–3), North African bowls (Fig. 6:4, 5), cooking pots (Fig. 6:7–9) and bag-shaped jars (Fig. 6:10, 11).
Stratum 1 (Early Islamic Period) yielded two walls (W116, W118) and a stone collapse that lay on the walls of Stratum 2. The walls were probably built of stones in secondary use, after they were taken from Stratum 2 structures, although their construction is of a much poorer quality. An accumulation of soil in this stratum (L113, L114) contained pottery dating from the seventh–eighth centuries CE, including a bowl imported from Egypt (Fig. 6:6) and a flask (Fig. 6:12).
Road Segment (British Mandate Era). A section of a road from the British Mandate period (L109) was unearthed on the hill slope, in the eastern half of the eastern excavation square. The road was constructed along a north–south alignment using the soling method: it comprised a bed of packed stones and gravel and was delineated with stones.
Six fragments of Late Roman and Byzantine glass vessels and five chunks of glass-production waste were discovered in the excavation. These are similar to finds from previous excavations at the site (Weinberg and Goldstein 1988
; Gorin-Rosen 2011
). The excavated vessels help date the building where they were retrieved, and the nature of the debris attests to a raw glass-production industry at the site as well as to glass-working furnaces, such as those identified in previous excavations.
The glassware includes a delicate bowl with a slightly inverted fire-rounded rim (L129; Fig. 7:1). A bowl of the same type was recovered at Jalame (Weinberg and Goldstein 1988
:45-46, Figs. 4-
5); a simple bowl with a raised hollow ring base (L105; not drawn); and a bowl with a raised coiled base formed of glass trails wound around the bottom of the vessel (L120; Fig. 7:2). Bases of this type are known from assemblages dating from the end of the Late Roman period; they were also found with industrial waste from the glass workshop at Jalame, where they were described as a rare type, uncharacteristic of the region (Weinberg and Goldstein 1988
:58–59, Figs. 4-21:152, 153). In
excavations over the past three decades, it has become clear that these bases are very common throughout the country and are characteristic of workshops dating from the fourth and early fifth centuries CE in the central region of Israel (for a comprehensive discussion of this type, see Gorin-Rosen and Katsnelson 2007
:88–90, 134–135, Figs. 7, 31).
Also retrieved were an upright rounded rim of a bottle (L101; not drawn), dating from the Late Roman and Byzantine periods, and a wide ridged handle of a jug or a juglet (L110; Fig. 7:3) made in a style that is very typical of vessels found at Jalame and at other excavations in the region. The juglet, which has a funnel mouth and rounded rim, is decorated with a thin, delicate trail beneath the rim. The handle reaches the edge of the rim and is worked in a special fashion.
The most distinctly Byzantine vessel recovered from the excavation is a hollow, conical lamp stem (L110; Fig. 7:4) of a type that was very common in the sixth–seventh centuries CE.
The industrial waste includes a greenish blue glass flake (L119; Fig. 8:1), which is triangular in section. It was found with a fragment of a furnace floor, comprising glass that was produced in the furnace attached to a calcareous layer from the furnace’s bedding (L119; Fig. 8:2). Also found were two chunks of partially fritted glass that were opaque and light bluish in color; one chunk had split into five pieces (L105; Fig. 8:3), and the other was smaller and more opaque (L113; Fig. 8:4). This type of waste is characteristic of workshops where raw glass was produced from sand (calcium and silica) and salt (sodium). Glass-production furnaces were excavated in 2015–2016 at Kh. ‘Asafna (Permit Nos. A-7309, A-7460).