During October–November 2007, a trial excavation was conducted on Ha-Oren Street in Ramat Yishay (Permit No. A-5274; map ref. 21541–7/73413–7), prior to the construction of a residential building.The excavation, undertaken on behalf of the Israel Antiquities Authority and underwritten by Yesodot Ha-‘Emeq Company, Ltd., was directed by B. Hanna, with the assistance of Y. Ya‘aqobi (administration), T. Meltsen and R. Mishayev (surveying) and H. Smithline (field photography).
Three circular rock-hewn installations (diam. 0.8 m, depth 0.6 m; Fig. 2) were exposed in Area A. The installations were filled with soil, which contained small stones and fragments of pottery vessels that dated to the Roman period; potsherds from the Byzantine period were discovered in the upper part of the fill.
Part of a quarry for ashlar stones (Fig. 3) was exposed in Area B. The negatives of the quarried stones (0.2×0.5×0.8–0.6×1.0×1.0 m) were clearly evident. Once the quarry was no longer in use, it was filled with chipped dressing debris and soil, which contained potsherds in its upper part, dating to the Roman period.
The remains of two architectural units that consisted of a room and courtyard were exposed in Area A. The room was rectangular and delimited by three walls (W10, W13, W15); its southern part extended beyond the limits of the excavation area. The walls were built of large limestone ashlars that were placed directly on bedrock. The floor consisted of well-dressed limestone flagstones that were set on soil that filled the rock-hewn installations of Stratum II.
The courtyard was located north and west of the room. Its floor was partly bedrock and partly tamped earth that contained small stones, crushed limestone and potsherds from the Byzantine period.
A retaining wall (W14) that was built of a row of large, roughly hewn limestone was exposed in Area B. The wall bordered on the eastern side of a broad base, built of fieldstones and brown soil, which contained numerous fragments of pottery vessels from the Roman and Byzantine periods.
The excavation indicates that the area was used for quarrying masonry stones and possibly farming during the Roman period and a residential structure was built there during the Byzantine period. Architectural elements that belonged to a monumental building from the Byzantine period were discovered during preliminary examinations of the site, northeast of the excavation area. It therefore seems that the settlement in the Byzantine period extended across the southwestern hill.