Four squares, excavated in two areas (A, B; Fig. 1), yielded building remains from the Late Roman (Stratum II) and Ottoman (Stratum I) periods, as well as Mamluk-period pottery and glassware. Both strata were recorded in Area A, but only the upper stratum was found in Area B.
Stratum II was encountered only in Area A, and even here to a very limited extent and at a depth of 2 m below the surface. The remains comprised a corner of a building constructed of large fieldstones (W3, W4; Fig. 3) within a layer of dark reddish clay that extended over the nari bedrock. The walls continued to be used as part of the later building (Stratum I, below). Potsherds from the Late Roman period (fourth century CE) were retrieved from the foundation trench (L10). These included CRSW-type bowls (Fig. 4:1–3), Kefar Hananya Type 1E bowls (Fig. 4:4), casseroles (Fig. 4:5, 6) of a type that is common at Horvat ‘Uza (Stratum 8; Avshalom-Gorni 2009:30–35, Fig. 2.28:8), cooking pots (Fig. 4:7, 8), a cooking-pot lid (Fig. 4:9) and bag-shaped jars (Fig. 4:10–12).
Stratum I. The remains of this layer were found in a friable gray sediment, probably the result of a massive use of lime and plaster. Both excavation areas yielded a built complex, which includs at least two rooms. Based on the alignment of the walls, the buildings were evidently part of a uniform village plan. The two areas contained thick plaster floors that had been installed at different levels (e.g., Fig. 3: L7, L12; Fig. 5: L45, L55). Some of the building walls in Area A were constructed directly on top of the walls from Stratum II (W3, W4), and others showed evidence of secondary use of dressed stones and possibly also of fieldstones.
Three phases were detected in Area B. In the first phase, walls (W51–53, W64; Figs. 5, 6) were abutted by a thin plaster floor (L57). In the second phase, the floor was raised and paved with flagstones (L63; not in plan, see Fig. 6). To the east of Floor 63, an additional, similar floor was identified (L72), which was apparently used in the same period. Floor 72 led to the entrance to a small natural cave (L58), in the center of which was a rock-hewn pit (L71) containing signs of fire. In the third phase, parts of W51 and Floor 63 were covered with a thick plaster floor (L55), which was installed over a bedding of small stones (L56).
Stratum I yielded pottery dated to the Ottoman period, including slipped bowls imported from Turkey or Greece (Fig. 7:1), bowls from the Rashaya el-Fukhar pottery workshops in southern Lebanon (Fig. 7:2), local cooking pots (Fig. 7:3), cooking pots imported from France (Fig. 7:4) and tobacco pipes (Shapiro, below; Fig. 8). Bowls dated to the Mamluk period (fourteenth–fifteenth centuries CE; Fig. 7:5) were also identified in this layer, as were water jars manufactured in ‘Akko (Fig. 7:6). Additional finds included iron implements (Fig. 9) and a fragment of a glass bracelet characteristic of the Mamluk period (Y. Gorin-Rosen, pers. comm.).
Tobacco Pipes
Anastasia Shapiro
Five fragmentary ceramic tobacco smoking pipes dating from the Ottoman period were recovered (Fig. 8). Parallels were found at the Hospitaler Compound (Shapiro, in preparation), Baniyas (Dekkel 2008) and Damscus (François 1995; 2008).
Pipes 1–4 are made of a very light gray (Fig. 8:1, 2) to grayish brown (Fig. 8:3, 4) fabric with inclusions of quartz, dark minerals and tiny laths of mica. The surfaces of Pipes 1–3 are darker than their fabric, and slightly lustrous, apparently because the mold was oiled before being filled with clay. The surface color of Pipes 1 and 3 is uneven as a result of firing conditions, and the surface of Pipe 3 is partly glassy; apparently, the exposure to an extremely high temperature in the kiln caused the vitrification of the sherd’s surface.
Pipes 1 and 2 are of same shape, and both are decorated with arrowhead-like leaves (according to Simpson [2000:149] they represent a cypress tree). Two alternating rows surround the shank termination, and two to three alternating rows surround the lower part of the bowl. Notch-rouletting runs above and below the leaves. A small fragment of a floral production stamp can be seen at the bottom of the bowl of Pipe 1. Most of the more complete specimens unearthed at other sites, such as ‘Akko, Baniyas and Damascus (e.g., François 2008: Fig. 90000:12), bear stamped production marks at the bottom of the pipe bowls, some of which are of the same design.
Pipe 3 is decorated with a band of rouletted scales-like pattern bordered with plain lines surrounding the lower part of the bowl. The more complete specimens from Damascus have short shank with a slightly bulbous thickening at the opening.
Pipe 4 has a ring termination bordered both above and below with two notch-rouletted lines. Possible parallels were found in ‘Akko, Baniyas and Damascus.
Pipe 5 is a dark gray sherd with numerous black grits and inclusions, and some quartz sand. The surface is finished with a purple-brown engobe (slip; see François 1995). The fragment bears a rouletted band of protruding hemispheric buttons. Intact and complete pipes with a similar decoration around the middle of the bowl (or the straight rim) were found in ‘Akko, Baniyas and several other sites.
Pipes 1–4 are dated to the late seventeenth and early eighteenth centuries CE, and Pipe 5—to the middle of the eighteenth-century CE. These dates point to Ottoman-period activity at the site between the second half of the seventeenth century and the mid-eighteenth century CE.
During the two periods documented in the excavation, the settlement evidently covered a large area. The meager remains from the Late Roman period add little to our understanding of the settlement at the site in the fourth century CE. Nevertheless, the buildings’ general orientation was apparently north–south, the same orientation of the architectural remains from the fourth century CE that were discovered in nearby excavations (Cohen 2007; Porat and Getzov 2010). The excavation indicates that the Ottoman-period village of el-Berweh—a rural settlement whose dwellings were built along a uniform alignment—was established on the remains of the Late Roman-period settlement.