These excavations (Areas A, B) are the first two of a series of small-scale excavations that were carried out at the site between 1999 and 2006 (Areas A-W; Fig. 1). The correlation of stratigraphical data from the different excavations permits the presentation of the architectural layers in general rather than local strata, although the processing of data may necessitate changes and fine-tuning of the stratigraphy and additional excavations will undoubtedly provide further valuable data for the interpretation of the evidence.


The strata exposed in the excavations:


Archaeological period

Approximate Historical dates


Iron IIA

Mid-tenth–mid-ninth century BCE


Iron IIB

Mid-ninth–early eighth (732/722) century BCE


Iron IIC

722–586 BCE


Persian period

539–332 BCE


Early Hellenistic period

332–198 BCE 


Middle–Late Hellenistic period

198–63 BCE


Early Roman period

63 BCE–135 CE


Middle Roman period

135–250 CE


Late Roman period

250–360 CE


Byzantine period

Fifth century CE


The majority of excavations were undertaken on the eastern side of the archaeological site where intensive consecutive occupations from the Hellenistic, Early and Middle Roman periods (Strata VI–III) were exposed. A small-scale Byzantine occupation (Stratum I) followed here after a decline or occupation gap at most of the site. Significant remains from early Iron IIA–B periods (Strata X, IX) and the late Persian period (Stratum VII) were uncovered only in two excavations at the top of the hill (Areas G and W). Extremely limited pottery remains from the late Iron Age (Stratum VIII) were exposed in a single excavation (Area M). Notably absent were architectural and artifact remains from the late eighth–fifth centuries BCE (Iron IIC–early Persian period).
It is unfortunate that the small area (25 sq m) of some of the individual excavations prevented the exposure of coherent house, or even room plans and only permitted the establishment of stratigraphy. 

Area A
A single square, partially excavated down to bedrock, reached a depth of 2.3 m below surface. Architectural remains from the Hellenistic (Strata VI, V), the Early Roman (Stratum IV), Middle Roman (Stratum III) and the Byzantine (Stratum I) periods were uncovered (Fig. 2). A stone wall (W14; height 1.7 m) was built directly on bedrock. A packed earth floor (L105) overlaid with Hellenistic potsherds, ran up to the lowest course of the wall. A small chalk lion figurine was discovered at this level (Fig. 3). Two adjoining stone walls (W13, W15; Fig. 4), preserved 1.3–1.5 m high, abutted W14, reusing the latter to form a room, which had a packed-earth floor (L104) dated by potsherds, including everted neck store jars, to the Early Roman period. A later floor (L103) was found at the level of the top courses of Walls 13–15, indicating that Floor 103 post-dated the room. Middle Roman-period potsherds (Kefar Hananya and Shikhin wares) were found on Floor 103. The latest remains in this square (Stratum I) comprised a floor (L101) of flat flagstones and packed earth, uncovered 0.2 m below surface and some wall stubs (W10, W11) whose stones were mostly robbed. These remains were dated by potsherds, including Late Roman Red Ware, to the Byzantine period (fifth century CE).

Area B
This area, c. 20 m to the east of Area A, was excavated only to a depth of 1.6 m below surface, not reaching bedrock (Fig. 5). Two well-built parallel stone walls (W16, W17), at a distance of 1.1 m between them and preserved 0.6–0.7 m high, were uncovered. Three floors were discerned between the walls and consisted of a packed earth floor (L111), running up to the base of Walls 16 and 17, a plaster floor (L110; 0.10–0.15 m thick), adjoining Walls 16 and 17 at a higher level and another packed earth floor (L107) that abutted W16A—a single course of stones added to W16, which possibly extended above the top of W17. A handful of potsherds were recovered from this square and it seems that W16, W17 and the lowest Floor L111 may be dated to the Early Roman period (Stratum IV), the middle floor (L110), together with the two reused W16 and W17, to the Middle Roman period (Stratum III) and the upper floor (L107), as well as W16a, to the Byzantine period (Stratum I). It is possible that an unexcavated Hellenistic stratum existed above bedrock and below the Early Roman remains.