During February–March 2011, a trial excavation was conducted on Ha-Shayetet Street in Nes Ziyyona (Permit No. A-6140; map ref. 64871–5/18027–32), prior to construction. The excavation, undertaken on behalf of the Israel Antiquities Authority and underwritten by the S.Y. Even Yazamut Company, Ltd., was directed by D. Golan, with the assistance of Y. Amrani (administration), V. Essman (surveying and drafting), A. Peretz (field photography), A. Glick (preliminary inspections), P. Gendelman (pottery consultation), M. Shuiskaya (pottery drawing) and M. Ajami.
The site is situated in the western part of Nes Z
iyyona—an area that was planted with orchards in the twentieth century (Fig. 1). Architectural remains dating to the Early Islamic and Byzantine periods were discovered c. 50 m east of the site, as well as remains of a pool, a well and water channel from the time of the British Mandate (HA-ESI 118
). Remains of irrigation systems that dated to the Early Islamic and Ottoman periods (HA-ESI 120
; HA-ESI 121
; HA-ESI 122
) were exposed c. 0.3 km west and southwest of the excavation area.
Based on the results of the probe trenches at the site, two squares, A in the east and B in the west, were opened (Fig. 2); remains of a probable irrigation system that may date to the Ottoman period were uncovered.
Two walls were exposed beneath a layer of modern construction refuse (thickness 0.7–1.0 m). Wall 102 (length 2.08 m, width 0.9, height 0.24 m), aligned north–south, was built of two courses of small fieldstones bonded with red mortar. The wall slanted to the west and it is unclear whether this inclination was intentional or the result of damage or shifting ground. The wall was severed in the middle of the square and its continuation south is a robber trench (L109). A wall (W108; length 2.7 m, width 0.5 m, height 0.19 m; Fig. 3) was exposed below W102 and perpendicular to it. Wall 108, oriented east–west, was built of a single course of roughly hewn stones. It seems that W108 was built together with W102 because it was incorporated in it. Wall 108 was also discovered in a probe east of W102 (not marked on plan).
Several potsherds from the Ottoman period (not drawn) were found adjacent to the walls (L107).
The remains are probably the foundations of an irrigation channels’ system: Wall 102 served as a main upper channel and Wall 108 was a secondary conduit that was fed from the main channel and conveyed water to the plots alongside it.
A wall (W103; length 4.1 m, width 0.5 m, height 0.33 m; Fig. 4), oriented east–west and preserved three courses high, was exposed below a layer of modern construction debris (thickness c. 1.3 m). Wall 103 consisted of two bottom courses of fieldstones and an upper course of roughly hewn stones. It continued in both directions, beyond the boundaries of the excavation. Clusters of stones that were apparently formed by the collapse of the wall were found to its south.
On both sides of the wall (L105, L106) were several fragments of ceramic water pipes (Fig. 5:1–3) and therefore, it seems that W103 was the foundation of a water channel. The pipes resembled those recovered from a previous excavation in the vicinity (HA-ESI 121
), thereby suggesting the remains may date to the Ottoman period.
The site is not denoted on historical maps and in light of the excavations’ results, it appears to have been used over the years as an agricultural hinterland for nearby settlement sites, such as Sarafand el-Kharab to the east (ESI 18:73–74, 74–76; ‘Atiqot 46:37–58) and el-Khirba (Kh. el-Salqah) to the southeast (ESI 19:97*–98*).