Chalcolithic period (Stratum V). Remains were encountered mainly in the southwest and northeast parts of the excavation, on an eastward-descending slope. Traces of a floor composed of potsherds were discovered in the upper part of the hill (Sq C3: L342; Fig. 5). A skull of an adult individual aged c. 30 (L343) was recovered to the south of the floor. A natural hollow, which contained pottery and was apparently used as a refuse pit, was discovered to the north of the floor, in the clayey soil indigenous to the area. Two other pits (Sq D6: L160, L230) found c. 7 m east of Floor 342 contained a few potsherds and flint tools. Square E8 yielded large potsherds, probably belonging to a jar that was sunk in the ground. Additional habitation levels were discovered on hard clayey soil in Sq G11, H10 and H11, and in the eastern part of the excavation. They contained potsherds, broken flint items, animal bones and shells, as well as a hematite mace head (Fig. 6).
Byzantine period (Stratum IV)
. Settlement at the site resumed in the Late Byzantine period (fifth–sixth centuries CE), when the surface appears to have been leveled by bringing in soil mixed with potsherds. The remains comprised a building and beside it an installation, a drainage channel, a refuse pit and a production kiln—attesting to industrial activity. The remains of the building, most of which were uncovered during the trial excavation (Segal 2104
), were found in Sqs C6–E6 in the southwest part of the excavation. Remains of a liquid-extraction installation (L105; Fig. 7), possibly associated with wine production, were partially preserved in Sqs C3–D3, in the southwest part of the excavation; The installation incorporated a wall from an earlier phase in the Byzantine period (W133). A north–south channel (Sq F7: L165; Fig. 8), which extended to the north of the building, was built of large, semi-dressed limestone blocks without bonding material. The channel lay along the same axis as the building, and thus was probably associated with it.
A refuse pit found c. 10 m north of the building (Sqs H7–H8: L122; diam. c. 5 m) contained a variety of bowls, both locally produced and imported from Cyprus, North Africa and Phocaea; casseroles and a cooking pot; bag-shaped jars and a zir jar; a lamp fragments; and large, well-dressed limestone blocks. The refuse pit may have been used by the building’s inhabitants.
A pottery kiln (Sq G11: L344) was discovered in the east part of the excavation area, c. 15 m from the building remains. Its preserved firebox (diam. 2.2–2.5 m) included six pillars arranged in a circle. The stoke hole was probably on the kiln’s north side. Near the kiln was a circular installation with clay walls (Sq H12: L314; c. 0.1 m thick). Pottery dating from the Byzantine period was found above and beside it. Due to safety considerations, the installation was only partially excavated, and it is unclear what its function was.
Early Islamic (Stratum III). Remains of a room and floors were discovered mainly in the center of the excavation (Sqs F8, F9). Only three wall foundations (W190, W191, W210; Fig. 9) built of medium-sized and small limestone stones without bonding material were preserved. Sections of a floor and a floor bedding (L222, L245, L300) were found in several places in the room. They were found unassociated, c. 5–10 m apart, and thus may have been used as work surfaces. A tabun (L283; Fig. 10) discovered c. 5 m northeast of the room was built of bricks interspersed with potsherds. A white plaster floor (L239) was found in Sq F12.
Late Ottoman (Stratum ΙΙ). This layer bears evidence of extensive activity at the site when compared with the earlier remains. Late Ottoman-period remains were discovered throughout the excavation area and included two architectural phases. Three buildings, of which only the foundations were preserved, were unearthed from the earlier phase (Nos. 1–3; Fig. 11). Two of the buildings were abandoned in the later phase, when the area was turned into a refuse dump. Thirty-one pits of various sizes and depths were dug into the soil, cutting into earlier remains (Fig. 12). The pits contained ash mixed with a large quantity of animal bones, a few potsherds, and fragments of Late Ottoman glass bracelets. The ash probably had an industrial origin.
British Mandate and Modern Era (Stratum I). Building 2 from Stratum II continued to be used during the British Mandate period, and it was expanded. It apparently continued to be in use after the establishment of the State of Israel.
The Late Chalcolithic remains bear a resemblance to dwellings as well as ceramic and lithic finds discovered in excavations in Yehud in recent years (Jakoel and Be’eri 2016
). For the first time, however, no Chalcolithic shafts were found at the site (Jakoel and van den Brink 2014
); this may indicate a spatial separation between industrial and residential areas. During the Late Byzantine period, the area was used for industry, and the building discovered between the installations may have served as a warehouse. A few winepresses discovered previously in the vicinity of the excavation (Korenfeld and Bar-Nathan 2014
; Jakoel and Be’eri 2016
) belonged to a well-developed wine industry, and the current finds may also be associated with wine production. In the Early Islamic period (seventh–eighth centuries CE), the site covered a smaller area than in the previous period, a phenomenon observed in other excavations as well. The site was resettled in the Late Ottoman era, and some of the buildings from this time continued to be used during the British Mandate period, although most were demolished in 1948.