An area (25 sq m; Fig. 4) was excavated next to an anti-tank ditch that was dug in the past, and five settlement strata were identified: Stratum 5 was the earliest, and yielded pottery sherds from the EB II; in Stratum 4, which dates to the Hellenistic and Early Roman periods, a habitation level and a wall were exposed, and both remained in use during Stratum 3—the Roman and Byzantine periods, and Stratum 2—the Abbasid period. Remains of a modern building were found on the surface in Stratum 1.
Stratum 5. A layer of soil over the bedrock, which contained fragments of pottery from the EB II, including jars (Fig. 6:1–3) and the base of a large vessel (Fig. 6:4).
Strata 4–2. A wall (W1), built of square stones and large basalt fieldstones, survived to a maximum height of four courses. The wall was constructed on a pavement of small stones and pottery sherds. Three use phases were discerned in it (Figs. 5, 7).
Stratum 4. Wall 1 was built during the time of this stratum, which is dated to the Hellenistic and Early Roman periods (second century BCE–second century CE). A floor (F3) made of small stones abutted W1. Pottery sherds were found on the floor, including a terra sigillata bowl (Fig 6:5), a bowl (Fig 6:6), a handle of a Golan-Iturean pithos (Fig. 6:7) and Golan-Iturean pithoi (Fig 6:8–10).
Stratum 3. In the Late Roman–Byzantine period (fourth–seventh centuries CE), a new floor (F2) of medium-size stones was laid fairly evenly on top of a fill. The pottery that was recovered from this stratum includes bowls (Fig. 6:11–12), a jar (Fig. 6:13) and cooking pots (Fig. 6:14–17).
Stratum 2. In the Abbasid period (eighth–ninth centuries CE), another floor (F1) was laid over a fill that contained earlier collapses. The floor was made of stones larger than those of the Roman-Byzantine period, and of building stones in secondary use. Fragments of Buff Ware (not illustrated) were among the sherds gathered in this stratum.
An analysis of the pottery finds from inside the building (L103, L104) and from the section of the anti-tank ditch nearby (L102) seems to indicate that the first use of the building of which W1 was part, was in the Hellenistic–Early Roman period, in the context of the Iturean settlement. The second phase was in the Late Roman–Byzantine period, and the third in the Abbasid period
Stratum 1. In the twentieth century, a meager building was erected on the remains of the ancient structure, which was apparently destroyed in the eighth–ninth centuries CE. The modern building was constructed of square stones. Only one course survived, and was dismantled in the excavation (W2; Fig. 8).
Several metal objects were discovered, including two severely corroded iron objects, a lump of lead and a modern button. One of the iron objects appears to be a pin (L102; length 60 mm, thickness 4 mm), its tip bent into a loop. This is probably a needle that was used for sewing tents and sacks. The second object is a spatula (L103; length 44 mm, thickness 3 mm), with a flattened tip in the shape of a small spoon. Spatulas were usually made of bronze, and it is rare to find an iron one. Similar bronze spatulas were found at Gamla, Jaffa and Tel Michal.
Remains of a well-built structure were exposed in the excavation, which was probably erected in the Hellenistic or Early Roman periods and was used until the Abbasid period. After a hiatus of c. 1,200 years, a simple structure was built on top of these ancient remains in the modern village of ‘Ashshe.
The excavation confirmed that the first settlement on site was built during the Early Bronze Age. Apparently the settlement continued to exist through almost all the historical periods, due to the favorable habitation conditions: the proximity to the road leading east, fertile soil, water from runoff and springs, and rock that was suitable for construction.