During February 2012, a salvage excavation was conducted in the Newe Yereq neighborhood in Lod (Permit No. A-6411; map ref. 190776–93/651641–59), prior to the construction of a private residence. The excavation, undertaken on behalf of the Israel Antiquities Authority and underwritten by Bassam Abu-Sa‘aloq, was directed by D. Masarwa (field photography), with the assistance of Y. Amrani and E. Bachar (administration), M. Kunin (surveying and drafting), H. Ben-Ari (GPS), A. Re’em and A. Gorzalczany (guidance), H. Torge (ceramics) and M. Shuiskaya (pottery drawing).
The excavation area was located in the southeastern part of Tel Lod. A former excavation was conducted in 2004 c. 300 m north of the tell and settlement remains that dated to the Roman, Byzantine and Early Islamic periods were exposed (HA-ESI 120
). Another excavation was conducted in 1996 c. 400 m southeast of the current excavation area and an extraordinarily beautiful mosaic was uncovered (ESI
17:169–172). In 2011, an excavation was conducted on Freeman Street in Lod, c. 1 km southeast of the excavation area, revealing building remains and installations from the Roman and Byzantine periods and tombs from the Early Islamic period (HA-ESI 124
One excavation square was opened near the southern bank of Nahal Ayyalon (Fig. 1). Initially, the upper layers of the square were removed with the aid of a backhoe (teeth were removed from its shovel), until ancient remains began to appear at a depth of 1.3 m. The excavation was then carried out manually and architectural remains from the Byzantine period (Stratum II) and a cistern and remains of a channel from the Early Islamic period (Stratum I) were exposed (Fig. 2).
Stratum II. Three massive walls (W104, W105, W113; Figs. 3, 4) were exposed in the southern part of the square which were built of large ashlars and were preserved to a maximum of four courses high. Wall 104 abutted W105 and together they formed a corner of a building. Segments of a white industrial mosaic floor (L107, L110) were exposed in two places in the square and were connected to this building. The mosaic floor was set on a bedding of small fieldstones and gray mortar. Beneath the floor in the southeastern corner of the square was a section of an east–west drainage channel (L112; Fig. 5), built of small stones and gray mortar and coated on the inside with white plaster. The channel was covered with medium-sized fieldstones. It led in the direction of the later cistern (L114; below). A filtration pit (L109; 0.6×0.7 m, depth 0.8 m) lined with small and medium fieldstones and gray mortar was exposed east of W113. Two terra-cotta pipes were exposed in the southern side of the pit (Fig. 6), one of which led in the direction of the later cistern (L114). It seems that prior to its construction, there was a large collecting vat to which Channel 112 and the terra-cotta pipe from the filtration pit led. It appears that the building remains, the filtration pit, and possibly also the collecting vat that was not preserved, were part of a large industrial installation that was associated with water. The walls of the building continued in all directions beyond the limits of the excavation square. The ceramic finds from this layer included bowls (Fig. 7:1–3), a casserole (Fig. 7:4), a cooking pot (Fig. 7:5), an amphora (Fig. 7:6), Gaza jars (Fig. 7:7, 8) and a baggy-shaped jar (Fig. 7:9), dating to the Byzantine period.
Stratum I. A cistern (L114; Fig. 8) was exposed in the south of the square. The cistern was lined on the inside with medium-sized fieldstones and gray mortar and was coated with white hydraulic plaster. A large square stone (0.75×0.75 m, height 0.6 m) with a rounded bottom was discovered in the cistern opening. It seems that Channel 112 was connected to the cistern and continued to be used in the Early Islamic period. A segment of a poorly preserved channel (L102; Fig. 9) was exposed in the northern part of the square. It was built in a north–south direction of small and medium fieldstones, and was apparently connected to the cistern. The ceramic finds in this layer included a jar (Fig. 7:10) from the Early Islamic period.