During November 2008, a trial excavation was conducted in the center of Sulam village (Permit No. A-5546; map ref. 231718–52/723479–511; Fig. 1), after three walls and a floor were exposed in probe trenches. The excavation, undertaken on behalf of the Israel Antiquities Authority and underwritten by a private entrepreneur, was directed by I. Mitler, with the assistance of Y. Lavan (administration), V. Essman (surveying and drafting), A. Shapiro (GPS), M. Hartal (archaeological mentor), H. Smithline (studio photography), N. Getzov (pottery), H. Tahan-Rosen (drawing), Y. Gorin-Rosen (glass), Z. Horowitz (IAA district archaeologist) and laborers provided by the entrepreneur.
The excavation was located c. 100 m from the Middle Bronze Age tell, less than that from other excavations where remains from the Byzantine, Umayyad and Mamluk periods (HA-ESI 118
; HA-ESI 120
; HA-ESI 120
; HA-ESI 121
; HA-ESI 121
) were exposed and c. 120 m southeast of the village mosque.
Two squares (50 sq m; Fig. 2) were opened. A stone enclosure wall from the Mamluk period preserved a single course high; a partially preserved stone floor and wall from the end of the Byzantine–beginning of the Umayyad periods and debris from a glass furnace, dating to the Late Roman period, were exposed. The walls were not excavated to their full height.
Square A1 (Fig. 3). The base of a modern wall (W102), carelessly built of different size fieldstones, was exposed. Beneath it was a meager wall (W110), built of three large fieldstones; at a slightly higher level than its base, bowls (Fig. 4:2–4) dating to the Mamluk period were found. Below this stratum of brown soil was a layer (c. 0.5 m) of small stones, numerous potsherds and glass fragments from the Hellenistic (Fig. 4:11) and Late Roman period (Fig. 4:10). The bottom stratum in the square was a layer of pale yellow material (L107), which contained glass fragments, raw glass and debris from glass production, near a single ashlar (0.4×0.5 m). The pottery finds included bowls (Fig. 4:1, 5, 6) and jars (Fig. 4:7–9) that dated to the Middle Roman period (second–third centuries CE).
Square A2 (Fig. 5). An accumulation layer of large stones, mixed with potsherds that included bowls (Fig. 6:1–5) and a cooking pot (Fig. 6:6) from the Ottoman period, was revealed. Beneath it was a layer, without large stones, which dated to the Umayyad period and was placed on a stone pavement (L116, L117) that was partially preserved over half of the square. The pottery fragments above and below the floor dated to the Umayyad period; hence the floor was also dated to this period. Large white tesserae, ex situ, were found below the stone floor. A wall in the northern part of the square (W113), whose base was deeper than the stone pavement, was built of uneven ashlars and dated, based on the potsherds between its stones, to the Late Byzantine–Umayyad periods. Wall 113 severed an earlier wall (W115) whose date is unclear. Wall 115, perpendicular to W113, was built of partly dressed stones, arranged widthwise.
The architecture in the layer of the Byzantine–Umayyad periods points to the presence of at least one building and a pavement, probably located outside the excavation area. A glass workshop was most likely located nearby.