Area A. Two squares (F30, G30; Fig 2) were opened. An upper layer comprising gravel and sand covering dark brown, dense clayish silt was removed with a backhoe. It appears that this layer was brought in as an artificial fill prior to the construction of the chicken coops. A horizontal layer of light gray, sandy silt comprising occupation debris (L1, L2; thickness 0.3 m) with a large amount of pottery was revealed at a depth of 1.0–1.2 m below the surface; it sloped downward from north to south. Multiple similar layers were discerned in the vertical sections delimiting the excavated squares. Since no architecture whatsoever was uncovered, the excavation area was reduced to the southern half of Sq F30 (2.5 × 5.0 m). This small probe revealed c. 15 additional, similar, superimposed occupation layers (L4–L6; thickness 5–30 cm each; Fig. 3). These layers sloped downward from north to south at an average inclination of 7 degrees. The layers consisted of sediments ranging in color from light gray to medium brown. The interface between the layers often consisted of a band of dark-grayish black sediment (thickness 1–5 cm), probably the result of a fire. All the layers yielded similar finds, namely an abundance of pottery sherds, animal bones and glass fragments. Remarkably, there were no disturbances, cuts, installations or architecture whatsoever found within these layers. Between the lowest layer and the bedrock below (depth c. 1.6 m) was a thin horizon of medium-brown sandy clay, which was essentially devoid of finds and appeared to be a natural deposit overlying the bedrock.
A preliminary reading of the pottery points to a Twelfth Century CE Frankish household assemblage. Although some finds from the Roman–Byzantine and early Islamic periods were found, these appear to be residual.
There are several possibilities for the origin of these layers: (1) a dump, probably of domestic waste, but possibly including industrial waste as well; (2) an accumulation of debris from industrial activity that took place either in situ or in the vicinity but left no significant traces; (3) an intentional fill. All three possibilities include periodic burning. Based on the slope, the elevation, the finds and the broader topography, it appears that this area was part of the western edge of the Lajjun settlement during the twelfth century CE.
Area B. During the looting, a shaft (c. 1 × 1 m, depth c. 4.5 m; Fig. 4) was cut in the tile floor of the building from the British Mandate and through archaeological layers. As a result, dirt and various finds were scattered around the shaft’s opening. About 0.5 m below the surface, a thin gray layer (2–3 cm) was visible in the southern section of the shaft—perhaps a floor. About 1.5 m below the surface, a stone wall was visible in the northern section of the shaft, possibly consisting of two courses. These finds point to the likelihood of multiple archaeological layers in this location. All the dirt around the opening of the shaft was sieved and then used to backfill the entire shaft. The sieving yielded several bags of potsherds, glass fragments, animal bones, shells and metal finds, including coins; these finds were preliminarily assessed to date from the late Byzantine and the Early Islamic periods.
The layers of occupation debris revealed in Area A are probably related to a nearby settlement from the twelfth century CE and may contribute to a better understanding of the diet of the inhabitants of this settlement. Further study of the finds should yield more information about the occupants of this settlement and the activity that occurred here during this period. The finds from Area B, dating from the late Byzantine and the Early Islamic periods, allow us to locate settlement activity during these periods on the southeastern slope of the hill.