In July 2014, a trial excavation was conducted in the ancient nucleus of Kafr Nein (Permit No. A-7171; map ref. 233025-58/726210-45), prior to construction (Fig. 1). The excavation, on behalf of the Israel Antiquities Authority, was directed by A. Mokary (photography and pottery reading), with the assistance of Y. Ya‘aqobi (administration), H. Tahan-Rosen (pottery drawing), R. Mishayev (surveying) and a team of laborers from Nazareth.
Exposed in the excavation area (25 sq m) were building remains dating to the Mamluk (Stratum I) and Early Islamic (Stratum II) periods (Figs. 2: Section 1–1, 3).
Stratum I. Part of a building was uncovered whose walls were constructed of limestone fieldstones (Fig. 4). The building was delimited in the south and east by W16 and W15 respectively; the western and northern walls were not exposed. A tamped earth floor (L10) abutted the walls. Rows of stones (W14) that were probably part of an installation constructed on the floor of the building were exposed north of and parallel to W16. Numerous fragments of pottery vessels dating to the Mamluk period (fourteenth–fifteenth centuries CE) were found on the floor, including glazed bowls decorated with thick incising (Fig. 6:1–3), a glazed monochrome bowl (Fig. 6:4), a painted frit bowl treated with a blue and turquoise glaze (Fig. 6:5), a handmade krater with a faded red stripe on the rim and burnished on the inside (Fig. 6:6) and a jar (Fig. 6:7).
Stratum II. A wall (W12; Fig. 5), built of limestone ashlars preserved to a height of four courses, was exposed in Stratum II beneath the Mamluk-period building. Below the layer of fill that accumulated beneath the remains of the Mamluk structure (L11) was a tamped earth floor (L13), abutting the northern side of W12. Pottery sherds dating to the Early Islamic period (eighth–ninth centuries CE) were collected above it, including a small bowl of gray clay decorated with an irregular reticulated pattern (Fig. 6:8), bowls (Fig. 6:9, 10), a krater of black clay adorned with a combed decoration (Fig. 6:11), a cooking pot (Fig. 6:12) and two jars (Fig. 6:13, 14).
The limited extent of the excavation made difficult an understanding of the architectural complex from the two periods that were discovered.
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