In August 2015, a salvage excavation was conducted next to Tel Afeq (Permit No. A-7513; map ref. 193837/667671). The excavation, undertaken on behalf of the Israel Antiquities Authority and financed by the Yakhin Afek Company, Ltd., was directed by G. Itach, with the assistance of Y. Amrani (administration), M. Kunin (surveying and drafting), N. Zak (plans), A. Dagot (GPS), P. Gendelman and H. Torgë (scientific consultation) and A. ʽAzab (IAA Central District Archaeologist).
Two excavation squares were opened and remains of an agricultural complex (Fig. 2), dating to the Late Roman–Early Byzantine period, were identified. The area, which was characterized by hard black alluvium, was apparently marshy for many years.
In the northern square, remains of a wall (W101) built of one course of fieldstones, some of them roughly hewn, were uncovered. The wall was constructed atop a foundation of small and medium-sized fieldstones. Black clay containing a few eroded pottery sherds (Fig. 3) was excavated on the eastern side of the wall (L100). The continuation of W101 was identified in several places to the north; apparently, the wall was at least 30 m long and preserved to a height of 0.5 m.
The presumed continuation of this wall was also revealed in the southern square (Fig. 4). Black clay was excavated on the western side of the wall (W102) and several eroded pottery sherds were found. Wall 102 formed a corner with a wall (W109) that apparently continued west and was built of one row of medium-sized fieldstones set on a broad foundation (c. 1.4 m) of small and medium-sized fieldstones. On a slightly lower level, a thickening of medium-sized fieldstones was affixed to the southern side of W109; the nature of the addition was unclear because only a small part of it was exposed. A fill consisting of small and medium-sized fieldstones, ceramic roof tiles and a small amount of pottery sherds from the Late Roman–Early Byzantine period (Fig. 5) were exposed in the section that was dismantled (L114). The sealed locus allows us to assume with a high degree of certainty that all of the architectural remains in the square date to this time. Another foundation made of small stones (L112) was exposed north of W109 (Fig. 6). The excavation in black clay located north and east of this foundation revealed numerous fragments of pottery vessels dating to the Late Roman–Early Byzantine period and a few tesserae.
Architectural remains that include a terrace wall, apparently constructed in the fourth century CE, were discovered during the excavation. Another wall, flanked on either side by a foundation of small stones, also belonged to the agricultural complex; however, it could not be determined if the wall was part of a building or an agricultural wall. The excavation results indicate that an agricultural complex was located at the eastern edge of Tel Afek in the fourth century CE. The small scope of the excavation made it difficult to determine the extent of this complex.
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