In November 2016, a trial excavation was conducted in the village of Tamra (ez-Zu‘abiyya; Permit No. A-7845; map ref. 23807–10/72667–70; Fig. 1) prior to construction work. The excavation, undertaken on behalf of the Israel Antiquities Authority and financed by the contractor, Zoʻabi Tamer, was directed by O. Zidan (photography), with the assistance of Y. Yaakobi (administration), R. Liran (surveying and drafting), K. Covello-Paran (scientific guidance), H. Tahan-Rosen (pottery drawing), E.J. Stern (pottery reading) and laborers from Kafr Manda.
The village of Tamra lies on a low hill at the west end of the basalt plateau of Ramat Issaskhar, c. 6 km south of Mount Tabor. Previous excavations yielded the remains of an impressive Umayyad building (Tepper 2013; Permit No. A-7065).
Following the destruction of a modern building, an excavation square (25 sq m; Figs. 2, 3) was opened, yielding architectural remains from both the Abbasid (Stratum II) and the Mamluk periods (Stratum I). The remains in the southern part of the square had been severely damaged by modern construction, whereas those in its northern part were relatively well preserved.
Stratum II yielded two rooms (L15, L17) paved with stones of various sizes and built directly on the bedrock. The rooms were separated by a wall (W13); another wall (W14), enclosing Rooms 15 and 17, abutted W13 from the south. South of W14 was a tabun (L16), which was probably set in the courtyard, which was destroyed in modern times. Abbasid potsherds recovered above the rooms’ floors and below them, on the bedrock, included a bowl (Fig. 4:1) and a jug (Fig. 4:2).
Stratum I. A wall (W12; height 1 m; Fig. 5) built of medium-sized basalt stones was uncovered in the northwest corner of the square; it extended beyond the excavation area. A layer of ash (L10, L18) excavated to the south of the wall yielded pottery from the Mamluk period: a deep bowl (Fig. 4:3), a bowl (Fig. 4:4) and two jugs (Fig. 4:5, 6).
The excavation results show that the Abbasid-period settlement extended as far as the hill in the center of the village and was not confined to the eastern slope, whereas the Mamluk-period settlement lay on the hill and did not expand eastward.