Five squares (1, 3–6; Square 2 was situated at the entrance to a hothouse and was therefore not excavated) were opened along the planned route of the drainage line (Figs. 1, 2). Architectural remains that dated to the Ottoman period and tombs of Middle Bronze II, which penetrated a habitation level dating to the Chalcolithic period, were exposed in the four eastern squares.
No ancient remains were identified in the western square (Fig. 1), probably due to the adjacent modern infrastructure.
The remains dating to the Ottoman period included foundations of two rooms, aligned east–west (Figs. 1–3). Their northern part was truncated by the modern infrastructure. The buildings from the Ottoman period, preserved a maximum of three courses high, were built of small and medium-sized hard limestone.
A room (L319; 2.5 × 4.0 m) was exposed in the western building; its northern part was cut by a modern trench. Another room, whose northern part was also cut (L321, L322; 2 × 7 m), was excavated east of Room 319. No floor was found in these rooms and the ceramic finds were meager. The upper part of an Ottoman-period jar was found upside down (L306, Figs. 4, 5:18) next to a wall (W305, Fig. 1) in the southwestern corner of Square 5. Red hamra with pockets of grayish black clay began to appear c. 0.5 m below the elevation of the Ottoman foundation. Tombs that dated to Middle Bronze II were discovered in the clayey soil. One burial was found in Square 5 (Fig. 6) and contained a child in articulation, 1.5 years of age, without any funerary offerings (L324; see below).
Two bones were discovered in Sq 4 (L320, Fig. 1), together with the lower part of a piriform juget, dating to MB II (Fig. 5:17). A jar burial that contained an infant, nine months to one year of age, was found in Sq 3, next to the eastern balk (L326, see below). The jar, dating to MB II, did not have its rim; its base was cut lengthwise and the deceased was placed inside it (Fig. 7). Human bones that belonged to an adult and were disturbed in a later phase (L323, see below) were found in Sq 6. Based on the ceramic finds, it seems that the time of the disturbance can be dated at the earliest to the Byzantine period.
A jug (Fig. 5:16) and a handmade cooking pot (Fig. 5:15) that have their origins outside the funerary assemblages were also ascribed to MB II.
A krater dating to the Chalcolithic period (Figs. 5:11, 7) was found below the burial jar from MB II. It indicates that the Middle Bronze Age interments penetrated a Chalcolithic habitation level that was founded on the natural hamra.
The stratum dating to the Chalcolithic period was exposed mostly in Sq 3 and the following vessels were ascribed to it: open bowls with straight sides (Fig. 5:1–7), a deep bowl (Fig. 5:8), holemouth jars (Fig. 5:9, 10), a krater (Fig. 5:11), jars (Fig. 5:12, 13) and a cornet (Fig. 5:14).
Anthropological Remains
Vered Eshed
Locus 324 is an interment of a child in a pit grave. An anatomically articulated skeleton was found, indicative of a primary burial. The child was lying supinely, with its head to the northwest and feet to the southeast; the head faced south. The arms were alongside the body and the legs were slightly bent (Fig. 6). The age of the child is estimated at c. 1.5 years, based on the development of the teeth, as the upper center molar, developed to the point of a partial crown only, first permanent upper molar approximately one third the height of a crown (Ubelaker D.H. 1989. Human Skeletal Remains: Excavation, Analysis, Interpretation. 2nd ed.; Washington, DC., Fig. 62) and a maximum length of long bones (length of the femur without epiphyses 116 mm, length of the humerus 96 mm (Bass W.M. 1987. Human Osteology. A Laboratory and Field Manual. 3rd ed., Columbia, Mo. Pp. 149, 217).
Locus 326 contained human bones in a fragmentary jar. A few post-cranial bones epiphyses on the long bones (Johnston F.E. and Zimmer L.O. 1989.Assessment of Growth and Age in the Immature Skeleton. In N.Y. Iscan and A.R. Kenneth eds. Reconstruction of Life from the Skeleton. New-York. Pp. 11–22) and several fragments of skull bones were preserved. However, it seems that this was a primary burial and due to the poor state of preservation of the bones, no skeletal bones were discovered. The bones are those of a child, 9 months to one year of age, based on the length of the bones (length of femur c. 90 mm (Bass 1987:217) and the extent of the closure of the
Locus 323 included a cluster of human bones next to a wall, as well as remains of human bones inside the wall. It seems that this was a single individual interred in a pit grave, which had been disturbed when the wall was constructed in the Byzantine period. Several fragments of long bones were discovered; their size and thickness point to an adult individual, probably a male (Bass 1987:207–225).
Buildings from the Ottoman period, which can be attributed to the Arab village of Yehudiya (Al-Abbasiyah) that existed at the site until 1948, were uncovered in the excavation. Habitation levels from the Chalcolithic period attest to the scope of the settlement in this period, whose remains were also found c. 0.5 km northeast of the excavation (HA-ESI 120). The region was used for burial, perhaps for infants and children, during Middle Bronze II. The interments included an excavated tomb and a jar burial that penetrated into the Chalcolithic level. The cemetery extended c. 350 m southeast of the excavation area and included burials from Early Bronze IV and Middle Bronze IIA-B (HA-ESI 116).