In July and August 2017, two rescue excavations were conducted at Gush Halav (Jish) in Upper Galilee (Excavation A—Permit No. A-8045, map ref. 241650/770100; Excavation B—Permit No. A-8080, map ref. 241740/770220; Fig. 1), prior to construction.The excavation, undertaken on behalf of the Israel Antiquities Authority and financed by the Issa and Lahoud families, was conducted by A. Hillman (field photography) and U. Berger (GPS), with the assistance of D. Avshalom-Gorni (pottery), H. Tahan-Rosen (finds drawing), Y. Yaakobi (administration), A. Shapiro (surveying) and a team of laborers from Majd al-Krum.
Excavation A. An excavation square was opened in a soil deposit containing a rather large number of potsherds (Fig. 2). In the upper layer, fragments of Rashaya el-Fukhar ware, dating from the Ottoman and British Mandate periods, were identified (Stern 2016), as well as a pocket knife (Fig. 3) that was found among the roots of an olive tree. Early twentieth-century photographs show that this area was planted with olive trees in the early 1940s (Milstein 2005). The pottery and pocket knife therefore probably date from the time when the olive trees were planted.
A deeper layer of soil yielded a small quantity of pithoi fragments and handles made of coarse GCW-type fabric, which was common in Galilee (Fig. 4:1) during the Hellenistic period. The Late Roman finds included fragments of Kefar Hananya Type 3B bowls (Fig. 4:2) and Kefar Hananya Type 1C bowls (Fig. 4:3), as well as a jar with a stepped rim resembling a type produced in Shihin (Shikhin; Fig. 4:4).A jar with an outward thickened rim and a ridge at the base of the neck (Figure 4:5) can be attributed to the Byzantine period.
Excavation B. Dressed building stones and a rock cutting, possibly the entrance to a
building that did not survive (Fig. 5) were uncovered in the west section of the excavation square. Near the rock cutting were a few openings leading into an underground cavity (Fig. 6) where remains of hewn burial benches were detected; similar caves have been identified in the surrounding areas (Berger, Liran and Nagar2017). The interior of the cave was not excavated; it was covered over, sealed and saved from being destroyed. The meager finds from the excavation include a few worn potsherds from the Roman, Byzantine and Mamluk periods.
Berger U., Liran R. and Nagar Y. 2017. Gush Halav. HA-ESI 129.
Milstein F. 2005. Gush Halav (Jish): Urban Survey. Israel Antiquities Authority, Conservation Department (Hebrew).
Stern E.J. 2016. The Ceramic Finds from the Ottoman Flour Mills in the Ridwan Gardens,
‘Akko. ‘Atiqot 87:83–96.