Area A. Maps and photographs from the British Mandate era show a crowded neighborhood of two and three story buildings in this area. The quarter was abandoned in 1948 and remains of its houses were demolished in the early 1950s. Remains of the buildings were exposed in all the excavation squares and beneath them were the remains of earlier strata. Pebbles, clay and numerous potsherds accumulated in the area in the Early Roman period. A similar phenomenon was identified in the adjacent excavations. A wall (width 1 m; Fig. 2), aligned north–south and built of ashlars bonded with gray mortar, was exposed in Sq A2; the wall resembled the stadium wall that was exposed in the Galei Kinneret excavations and was probably that stadium’s western wall. The stadium wall, the only architectural element from the Early Roman period in the excavation, was probably located outside the city limits. A section of a wall, ascribed to the Byzantine period and built on the stadium wall, was exposed. A layer with numerous potsherds dating to the Byzantine period was exposed in Sq A1. Finds from the Umayyad period were entirely missing from the excavation areas, in sharp contrast to the finds at Galei Kinneret. A broad wall aligned east–west that was exposed in Sq A3 might be part of the Umayyad city’s northern wall. The settlement in all the excavation areas was renewed in the Abbasid period. Numerous buildings and artifacts were exposed from this period, among them round cesspits lined with stone (Figs. 3, 4). Similar pits were revealed in Sqs A2, B1, D6, E3 and at Galei Kinneret. A layer postdating the Early Islamic period and probably from the Fatimid period was exposed in Sq A1.
The excavation area constituted the southern end of the city during the Crusader and Mamluk periods. Remains from these periods were exposed in the excavation east of Sq A1 (HA-ESI 119
Two broad walls, probably part of a public building (Fig. 5), were exposed in Sq A1; a section of an alley paved with flagstones next to a courtyard with a tabun (Fig. 6) was exposed in Sq A2. The public building, alley and courtyard were probably used in the Crusader and Mamluk periods. A broad wall built of roughly hewn stones parallel to the Ottoman city wall was exposed in Sq A3 and partially excavated (Fig. 7). This wall was probably part of the city’s southern wall in the Crusader and Mamluk periods. A moat was excavated south of and parallel to this wall (Permit No. A-5534). Several installations from the Crusader period were exposed south of the moat and it seems that the area was situated beyond the city limits.
Buildings from the Ottoman period were exposed in the three squares. Two strata of flagstone and plaster floors that abutted the Crusader walls were exposed in Sq A1 (Fig. 8). A building that was partly covered by a vault was uncovered in Sq A2; the walls of the structure were coated with turquoise plaster that also covered the floor (Fig. 9). Similar turquoise and red plaster also covered floors of a building that was exposed in Sq A3, as well as its walls, above the top of the Crusader wall (Fig. 10).
Area B. A section of a wall was exposed in Sq B1 (Fig. 11). It was abutted by a floor, overlain with potsherds from the second and third centuries CE, dating the floor and wall to the Roman period. A concentration of glass vessels from the third–fourth centuries CE was discovered in Sq B3 and two bronze bells and iron nails were found nearby (Fig. 12). Finds from the Byzantine and Umayyad periods were not discovered in Area B. Numerous remains from the Abbasid period were uncovered. In Sq B1, these included a section of a wall, floors, a cesspit (Fig. 13), lined like the one in Area A, as well as a stone pavement and a staircase (Fig. 14). Floors and a wall ascribed to the Fatimid period were exposed; the wall was also used in later periods. Scant remains from the Crusader and Mamluk periods were exposed Square B3. These included a layer with a wall and a floor from the twelfth century CE, overlain by a Mamluk layer with two walls (Fig. 15). One of the latter walls was the continuation of the wall from the Fatimid period. The other wall was built in this stratum and survived by a single course, whose top was level and probably served as a base of a mud-brick wall. A Mamluk jar and juglet were discovered alongside it (Fig. 16). A section of a well-constructed building whose walls were partially coated with plaster and its floor was paved with flagstones, was exposed in Sq B6. The building and nearby finds from the Crusader and Mamluk periods indicate that the city extended west, almost to the western end of the parking lot. The finds in the western squares were considerably sparser than in the eastern squares and that is probably where the city’s western boundary was located. Two strata of buildings dating to the Ottoman period were exposed in all the squares. A hoard of 206 coins buried in a wooden box was discovered in Sq B1. A courtyard surrounded by vaults (Fig. 17), whose walls and floor were coated with turquoise plaster, was exposed in Sq B5. The courtyard’s floor, originally built of flagstones, had a square opening that was probably a cistern. A staircase descended to the courtyard. Numerous tools and bottles were found in a niche used for storage that was located in its western side. In the courtyard’s southern wall was a doorway to a vaulted room. The building was also used during the British Mandate era. The fringes of the building and courtyards associated with it were also uncovered in Squares B4 and B6.
Area C. Four strata were exposed in Sq C1, located in the eastern part of Ha-Banim car park. The bottom stratum comprised an accumulation of pebbles, clay and potsherds from the Middle Roman period (Fig. 18), similar to the accumulation in Area A and at Galei Kinneret. It seems that in the Roman period the area was located outside the city limits and the finds that were swept there from the nearby city sank in the shallow water close to the shore. The earliest building exposed dated to the Abbasid period. Two of its walls, two columns and a flagstone floor survived (Fig. 19); a game board was carved on one of the flagstones. The stone pavement was also used in a building that was constructed in the Crusader period (Fig. 20) of which two walls, a narrow column drum and remains of a tabun were exposed. Remains of buildings from the Ottoman and British Mandatory periods were uncovered in the upper stratum. Walls and floors from the Ottoman period were exposed in the west, in Sq C2 (Fig. 21). Beneath this stratum were layers of fill from the Mamluk, Crusader and Early Islamic periods. A layer of clay, pebbles and Roman potsherds, similar to that in Sq C1 but considerably thinner, had accumulated on the virgin soil.
Square C3 was excavated north of the Byzantine city wall’s presumed route whose remains were revealed at the adjacent Jordan River Hotel (Harif 1984:109
). Clay, pebbles and Roman-period potsherds accumulated in the bottom layer and above them were the remains of buildings from the Abbasid period (Fig. 22). A round pit lined with stone walls that probably served as a cesspit was also exposed in this square. Two strata of buildings from the Ottoman period were exposed on top of the Abbasid building. Potsherds from the Mamluk and Ottoman periods were discovered in the bottom stratum. A broad staircase was built on the walls of the lower Ottoman stratum (Fig. 23). Buildings from the Ottoman period, also used during the British Mandate era, were in the upper stratum. Ten settlement strata were exposed in Sq C4, south of the Byzantine city wall’s presumed route. Fill containing imported pottery from the Byzantine period was discovered on a floor in the bottom stratum (Fig. 24). Byzantine-period finds were only discovered in a limited area of one square in Area C, but they substantiate the dating of the city wall beneath the Jordan River Hotel to this period. On the Byzantine fill was a floor with Roman pottery, probably from an accumulation of alluvium similar to that in the rest of the squares. Remains of walls and four floors from the Early Islamic period were discovered on the Byzantine floor (Fig. 25). A fragment of a marble chancel screen (Fig. 26) and pottery from the Abbasid period were discovered on the bottom floor. The floors of the Early Islamic period were overlain with an earthen floor and pottery from the Mamluk period and above that were two layers of Ottoman architectural remains (Fig. 27).
The excavations at Tiberias were conducted in small areas, but the number of squares excavated and their distribution facilitate a preliminary reconstruction of the city’s development within the precincts of today’s old city. The city in the Roman period was located south of the aforementioned excavations and a stadium was located outside the city. It expanded in the Byzantine period and its remains were exposed in areas south of the city wall that is situated beneath the Jordan River Hotel; however, it seems that the construction in the northern part of the city at that time was fairly sparse. The Umayyad period is not represented in the current excavation and the area was probably not inhabited at this time. The settlement north of the city wall seems to have begun in the Abbasid period. Sections of the city were destroyed in the earthquake of 749 CE and in its aftermath, the damaged buildings were apparently abandoned and the city expanded northward into what is today the Old City. Remains from this period were found in all the excavation areas. The western boundary of the Abbasid city was apparently found in Area D and that city’s northern boundary was discerned in Area E.
Areas D and E, in the municipal park, were outside the city walls and not inhabited after the Abbasid period. It therefore seems that the northwestern corner of the city was located within the precincts of the municipal park. Rich finds ascribed to the Early Islamic period were exposed and it seems that the city reached its zenith at this time when it was the capital of Jund al-Urdunn. The area of the city decreased during the Fatimid period and the quarter that was in the municipal park was apparently deserted. Areas A–C were included within the Crusader city. Almost no Crusader remains were found south of the Ottoman city wall. However, it seems that the city was concentrated near the Kinneret and the intensity of the finds decreases the further west one goes. During the Mamluk period the settlement continued in the area until it was abandoned and in the Ottoman period, it was renewed in Areas A–C, which were included within the city wall. Evidence of intensive construction that also continued to be used during the British Mandate era was found in these areas.