Five probes (Sub-Areas D11–D15) were excavated.
Sub-Area D11 was located near the current intersection that leads into Moshav Zippori. A sediment below the top-soil layers contained numerous potsherds, mainly of metallic ware, ascribed to EB II. The excavation did not reach earlier strata and was suspended due to limited resources.
Sub-Area D12 was located to the northwest, i.e., inside, the course of the Early Bronze Age wall previously exposed in Sub-Area D3. Beneath a surface deposit was an accumulation containing numerous pottery sherds from the EB Ib. No accumulations from the EB II were found, thereby reinforcing previous observations that the EB II settlement was smaller than the EB I settlement, and did not extend as far as the EB wall. The excavation did not reach earlier strata and was suspended due to limited resources.
was located east, i.e. outside, of the course of the Early Bronze Age wall. At the bottom of the archaeological deposits was a dark, friable gray sediment that contained several stones and finds consisting mainly of flint artifacts and a few pottery sherds. It seems that the ceramic vessels were later penetrations, and the sediment was of a pre-pottery age. A preliminary analysis indicates that the finds date from the Pre-Pottery Neolithic C period (see Fig. 8). The accumulations above the sediment consisted of numerous angular stones and potsherds dating from the Early Chalcolithic period. Due to the wet soil, it was impossible to distinguish between the accumulations; nevertheless, it seems that they date from the Early Chalcolithic I period, and were later penetrated by a large pit dug during the Early Chalcolithic II (see Getzov 2015
for the phases of the Early Chalcolithic period). A broad wall (Fig. 2) built of one course of stones was exposed at the top of the accumulations; it should probably be ascribed to the Early Chalcolithic II period. No remains from the Early Bronze Age were found, reinforcing previous observations that the Early Bronze Age wall delimited the period’s settlements located to the east. The excavation did not reach earlier strata, and the extent of the Pre-Pottery Neolithic B settlement, remains of which were exposed in Sub-AreaD14 (below), remains unclear.
Sub-Area D14. Above a layer of dark, greasy clay alluvium devoid of finds, was an accumulation of dark clay that yielded a few angular stones, animal bones and numerous flint artifacts (Fig. 3). The flint implements, including naviform cores, sickle blades made of purple flint and Jericho points, date from the middle of the Pre-Pottery Neolithic B period. Above these remains was an accumulation characterized by a multitude of angular stones, flint artifacts, animal bones and pottery sherds. At the top of the accumulation were sections of four walls, including a single course of stones that apparently served as a foundation for brick construction, but none of it survived (Fig. 4). It seems that the walls were constructed at different times, as they do not connect to form a uniform plan. Numerous pottery sherds from the Early Chalcolithic I period were discovered in the accumulations that covered the walls and in those beneath them; sherds from the Early Chalcolithic II were found only in several places. Thus, the remains are probably all from the Early Chalcolithic I period. Judging by the assemblage’s composition, they should be attributed to the Wadi Rabah culture.
Sub-Area D15 was located near the edge of the site, next to the junction leading into ʽIllut. A meager accumulation (max. thickness 0.4 m) that contained many angular stones, a few pottery sherds, animal bones and flint tools was exposed; no architectural remains were found. The potsherds are probably from the Early Chalcolithic I period. Beneath the accumulation was soil that contained dark brown clay, with no finds. It covered the hard limestone bedrock.
Preliminary inspections in the area north of Nahal Zippori yielded evidence of settlements and agricultural activity ranging in date from the Early Chalcolithic period to the present.
Meager accumulations from the Early Chalcolithic, Late Bronze, Roman, Byzantine and Mamluk periods were discovered in a trial trench excavated north of the area (Fig. 5). The remains of a building from the Ottoman period and the time of the British Mandate were found at the top of the accumulations.
Agricultural walls from the Roman and Mamluk periods were unearthed in trial trenches in an olive grove (Fig. 6). Beneath the walls was wadi alluvium containing small pebbles and flint artifacts, most probably from the Paleolithic period.
Evidence of a proto-historic settlement was found in preliminary inspections near the confluence of Nahal Zippori and a small valley that conveys water from ʽEnot Zippori. Five squares (Fig. 7) were opened, yielding remains from the end of the Pre-Pottery Neolithic C period, the end of the Pottery Neolithic period and the Early and Late Chalcolithic periods.
The End of Pre-Pottery Neolithic C Period. Floors and soil accumulations containing flint implements but devoid of pottery are evidence of a settlement dating from this period. Although no walls of buildings were found, it is likely that they will be exposed in future excavations. Noteworthy finds from this period are leaf-shaped arrowheads that have a tang knapped with pressure flaking which has denticulated edges (Fig. 8).
The End of Pottery Neolithic Period. Pottery sherds were found in several places, but no clear accumulation was discerned. To date, only small assemblages from this period have been found at the site.
The Early Chalcolithic Period. Architectural remains and accumulations were the main finds from this period: habitation levels, pits and scanty walls found in all the squares of this sub-area. Three settlement phases were apparent in this stratum, but at this stage of the research the phases are still not fully defined. Nevertheless, the existence of a settlement in the Early Chalcolithic I period could be determined.
The Late Chalcolithic Period
. Three pits were found. They were filled with a pale, grayish yellow friable sediment that was visibly different from the accumulations into which they penetrated (Fig. 9). The sediment contained a few stones and numerous potsherds, mostly from the Late Chalcolithic period, such as V-shaped bowls and large lug handles. No other remains from the Late Chalcolithic period were exposed, but it is likely that such finds will be discovered in future excavations, as those found on the other side of Nah
ippori (Zidan 2014
; Fig. 1: A-6675).
Part of a structure built of large stones was exposed to the west of the remains of the proto-historic settlements discovered in the eastern part of Area J. Its walls were built haphazardly, and it seems that it was used by agricultural workers who constructed a field tower or a small farmhouse there (Fig. 10). All the potsherds recovered from nearby the building were from the Early Roman period. The limited scope of the excavation did allow us to clearly define the structure’s plan or its function. The remains from the Roman period were found above the virgin soil, indicating that the proto-historical settlements did not spread as far as this area.
Remains ascribed to the Late Roman and Byzantine periods were found in three trial squares, including an installation consisting of a surface built of small stones and crushed chalk and lined with a fieldstone wall (Fig. 11). The installation can be dated to the Byzantine period based on pottery sherds found on the surface.
The main contribution of these two seasons of excavation was in determining the spread of the remains during the periods when the site was inhabited. Several important points should be noted:
1. The ‘clean’ accumulation from the Pre-Pottery Neolithic B period found in Sub-Area D14 corroborates the evidence from accumulations with finds from this period found in Yaroshevich’s excavation (Areas N6, N7; Yaroshevich 2016). A detailed analysis of the finds will show whether these finds belong to the same PPNB phase.
2. Remains from the Pre-Pottery Neolithic C period in Sub-Area D13 and their absence in the areas to the east indicate that the settlement’s eastern boundary during this period lay between Sub-Areas D13 and D14. The deposits from this period in Area J corroborate the information we have about similar remains in Areas A and C, which were only derivative following previous excavations. The information garnered to date is still insufficient to determine whether the remains belonged to one, large settlement or to several small, separate sites
3. The largest settlement dates from the Early Chalcolithic I. It is now evident that the settlement of the Wadi Rabah culture extended throughout the ancient site of ʽEn Zippori and to its east, at least as far as Sub-Area D15. In Area J (East), the picture is unclear; although the remains from the Early Chalcolithic I period are extensive, it is uncertain whether they are part of the large settlement or belong to a small, separate settlement. The meager finds in Area H are indicative of random activity rather than of an actual settlement.
4. The size of the settlement decreased in the Early Chalcolithic II period. No remains were found in Sub-Area D15; only scant disturbances from this period were discerned in Sub-Area D14; and an actual accumulation from this period along with a wide wall were found in Sub-Area D13. It turns out that the construction found in this sub-area is the easternmost known remain belonging to the settlement from this period. Only further study of the finds in Area J (East) will determine whether there was a settlement in this area as well.
5. The existence of EB IB remains in Sub-Area D12 and their absence in Sub-Area D13 corroborate previous observations that the wall from this period was the eastern boundary of the settlement. No evidence of an Early Bronze Age settlement was found in Areas H and J. It is thus clear that it did not reach the riverbed, and therefore the continued course of the northern wall should be sought between Area J and Areas A–C.