Area A (Fig. 3). Remains of a building (15 m long) were found to contain three rooms (L102–L104) on a northwest–southeast alignment. Three of the walls of Room 102 (W107, W110, W112; Fig. 4) had broad foundations set on sand; the northern wall was not unearthed. The walls were preserved to a height of one or two courses. At a later stage, a narrow partition wall (W113) was constructed above W112, and an opening set in the wall led to Room 103; W113 was preserved to the height of 0.2 m above the floor. Three segments of a clay pipe, which may have been used for drainage, were discovered at the east end of W110. The room was paved with square black-and-white cement tiles (0.25 × 0.25 m) placed at a 45-degree angle to the walls; they were framed by a border composed of two rows of reddishbrown tiles, which were placed along the walls. The tiles were set into a layer of white clay placed on top of a layer of reddish brown sand mixed with broken kurkar stones. Remains of another tiled floor, exhibiting a different pattern, were uncovered along the northern perimeter of the room, above the original floor. Tiles with this pattern were found on the threshold of the opening in W113; these tiles appear to belong to a later phase in the building, when the floor of the room was raised, and the opening in W113 was either first installed or tiled.
A row of stones coated with white plaster (W120) was unearthed to the west of Room 102; it may have marked off an area designed to drain water away from the building. To the west of W120 was brown sand (L130), which contained a mixture of broken kurkar stones and a few fragments of animal bones, along with potsherds belonging to imported and locally made late Ottoman wares (see Appendix). Room 103 had a floor of smoothed concrete (0.1 m thick) and was separated from Room 104 by a narrow partition wall (W132). Room 104 was paved with square cement tiles (0.25 × 0.25 m)—mostly gray, with some black ones—laid in a pattern similar to that in Room 102; like the tiles in Room 102, these were also set in a bedding of white clay. The sand beneath the bedding contained a few fragments of animal bones and late Ottoman potsherds, including small sherds of glazed bowls and a Black Gaza ware sherd (not drawn).
The building was covered with a layer of packed building debris (L101), containing sand mixed with lime, broken kurkar stones and numerous finds dating partly from the late Ottoman period (second half of the nineteenth century CE) and partly from the era of the British Mandate and the State of Israel. The nineteenth-century CE finds include roof tiles and rectangular bricks with square holes in them from the Roux Brothers factory near Marseilles (see Appendix: Fig. 7:1–4); a brick made by an unidentified manufacturer in Marseilles (see Appendix: Fig. 7:6); pieces of colored cement tiles decorated with a vegetal motif (Fig. 5); a few imported and local potsherds (see Appendix); glass bracelets (Ouahnouna, below); a thimble (see Appendix: Fig. 8); and three bronze coins from the rule of the sultan ‘Abed al-Majid (1839–1861), one of them a 5 para coin minted in Misir (Egypt), while the other two are 10 para coins minted in Qustantiniya (Constantinople). The twentieth-century CE finds include Hard-Paste and porcelain ware (see Appendix), glass medicine bottles (Ouahnouna, below) and a 10 agora coin from 1960–1972. The layer of building rubble was sealed with smoothed concrete, which was used as a path between the neighborhood’s buildings, several of which are still occupied today.
The substantial foundations of the building in Area A and the few colored cement tiles found in its ruins may attest to a second floor. Based on the later tiled floor on the edges of Room 102, the building’s more recent construction phase should probably be dated to the decade prior to its demolition.
Area B. Three wall segments (W108, W115, W136) were uncovered in the northeast of the area, and a small part of a poorly preserved building was discovered in its southwest part. The three walls, which do not join to form a coherent plan, were built along a northeast–southwest alignment (Fig. 6). Wall 108 was built on a broad foundation (0.8 m high; Fig. 7), which was laid on sand devoid of finds; the wall was coated with white plaster. Walls 115 and 136 were built next to each other. The remains of the building (Fig. 8) comprise two walls (W133, W134), enclosing a room, and two additional walls (W122, W135), whose relation to the building’s plan is unclear. Adjacent to the interior of W133, a concrete wall (W121) was constructed at a later phase; its inner face was coated with white plaster. The room’s floor was made of square, gray cement tiles (L119), which laid in a pattern similar that of the floors in the building in Area A. Floor 119 abutted W121. The remains of this building were also covered with a layer of packed building debris (L106, L117, L118): sand mixed with lime, broken kurkar stones and finds, some dating from the latter half of the nineteenth century CE and others from the time of the British Mandate and following the establishment of the State of Israel. The nineteenth-century CE finds include a few fragments of porcelain ware and imported pottery (see Appendix). The twentieth-century finds include porcelain fragments (see Appendix) and a 1 mil coin minted between 1927 and 1946. As in Area A, here too the layer of building rubble was sealed with smoothed concrete that was used as a path between the neighborhood’s buildings.
Glass Vessels
Brigitte Ouahnouna
The excavation yielded five completeglass vessels (Fig 9:1–5) and two small fragments of bracelets (Fig 9:6, 7). The glass vessels belong to a well-known group from the late nineteenth and twentieth centuries CE in Yafo. The bracelets date from the Mamluk period to modern times.
Nos. 1–4 are Medicinal bottles, which are probably the largest and most diverse group of bottles produced during the late nineteenth and twentieth centuries CE. This diversity is staggering in variety of shapes and sizes, and medicine bottles have been the subject of several studies (for example, Fike 1987). Three bottles (Nos. 1–3) are made of amber glass. The volume is stamped on the bottom of two of the bottles (Nos. 2, 3), as is customary. Bottle No. 3 has a metal stopper. No. 4 is a small container made of opaque white glass, with a wide mouth. On the bottom, the letter F is engraved, and on the body—“PARIS”; there is a trace of a paper label.
No. 5 is a complete inkwell from the “Waterman” trademark. On the flat base is a molded inscription in four lines: WATERMAN; 2oz 6; RLCD NO; 808856. The Waterman pen and ink company was established in 1884 in New York City and is a major manufacturer of fountain pens to this day. A similar example has been recovered in the excavations at Ha-Zorfim Street in Jaffa (Arbel 2010).
Nos. 6 and 7 are two small fragments of bracelets. They represent common types known from the Mamluk period, which continued in use into the Ottoman period and modern times (Shindo 2001). No. 6 belongs to the multicolor twisted type; these bracelets were made by twisting two or more threads, one thick and the other thin, in different colors. No. 7 is a fragment of a monochrome bracelet with facets.
The excavation is one of the first to be conducted in the neighborhoods built to the south of Yafo’s city wall during the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries CE. It thus augments our knowledge of the building materials and everyday items used by the quarter’s residents. The excavated buildings were probably destroyed in the 1970s as part of a planned urban renewal project, during which the Israel Land Administration and the Amidar Company demolished over a thousand buildings in Yafo’s Ajami and Jabalya neighborhoods (Goldhaber 2010:52–53).