The Excavation
Following the results of previous excavations and probes conducted at the site and in light of the development plans for Highway 16, an extensive excavation was commenced in areas that would be damaged by the roadworks and related development work. The excavation areas were divided into four sections (A–D; Fig. 2), each comprising about 300 excavation squares. At the contractor’s request, it was agreed that the excavations would begin in Section B, where infrastructure work for Highway 16 was scheduled to start.
Section B (c. 5 dunams; Fig. 3) extends across a gentle hillslope dropping down to Nahal Soreq, south of the old route of Highway 1 at the Moza Turn. Modern agricultural terraces in the east and west of the area were constructed over ancient remains. The eastern terrace (depth 2 m) cut through the ancient remains down to bedrock. The western terrace divides Section B from Section A.
Thirteen excavation areas were opened in Section B (B3–B15), in which c. 250 squares (5 × 5 m) were dug down to bedrock, yielding settlement remains dating mainly from the PPNB and the Late Pottery Neolithic periods. The settlement in is area was built along the bedrock shelves. Thus, in the northwest part of the area, where the bedrock shelf was level, preservation was good, but in the southeast part, where the bedrock shelf slopes down, the remains are not as well preserved.
Stratigraphy (Table 1)
Four settlement strata were uncovered (4–1; Fig. 4): the lower strata, Strata 4 and 3, are dated to the PPNB; Stratum 2 is dated to a late phase of the Pottery Neolithic period; and the uppermost stratum, Stratum 1, is dated to the Roman period. In addition, two limited intrusions from the surface level, both dated to the Early Bronze Age I, were identified in Areas B7 and B11, and sporadic finds from the Chalcolithic period were unearthed in Areas B4 and B5.
Stratum 4 (thickness 0.4–0.6 m)
Areas B3 and B9–B11 yielded remains of a rectangular building and thick plaster floors, in which three construction phases were identified. Most of the buildings were founded on a thin layer (thickness 0.2 m) of terra-rossa soil that covered the bedrock. The remains in the stratum date from the middle and late phases of the PPNB.
Stratum 3 (thickness 0.6–0.8 m)
Architectural remains were discovered in all the excavation areas above the Stratum 4 remains. These belonged to three building phases. They were founded on a layer of gray clayey soil fill mixed with small and medium-sized angular stones. The remains in this stratum date from the Late PPNB.
Stratum 2 (thickness 0.4–0.6 m)
Dense building remains were discovered in Areas B7–B12 and B15; they were founded on a fill of light gray, friable clayey soil mixed with stones that were less densely packed than those in Stratum 3. The buildings were preserved to a maximum height of two courses, except for those in Area B11, which were exceptionally well preserved to a height of 0.6 m. The stratum’s remains date from a late phase in the Pottery Neolithic period.
Stratum 1 (thickness 0.3 m)
The surface layer consisted of pale red, friable terra-rossa soil mixed with small stones and Roman-period potsherds. The few architectural remains discovered included a built water channel and remains of a building dating from the Roman period. The stratum was disturbed by modern activity, such as planting fruit trees and laying irrigation pipes.
Table 1. Excavation Stratigraphy
Date (BCE; calibrated)
100–200 CE
Roman (Stratum 1)
Early Bronze
Late Pottery Neolithic (Stratum 2)
Late PPNB (Stratum 3)
Middle and Late PPNB (Stratum 4)
Numerous building remains were unearthed, most of which were constructed of hard limestone and preserved to a height of 0.4–0.6 m. The upper part of the walls was probably made of clay, and the roof was made of branches. Stones used for constructing walls and manufacturing lime were quarried at the site, in an area where the bedrock comprised layers of marl overlain with layers of limestone.
Stratum 4
The architecture in Stratum 4 is characterized by rectangular structures with thick plaster floors; in some buildings, burials were discovered beneath the floors. Several buildings contain several rooms arranged along one long wall (e.g., the complex in Area B3), and others are simple structures with no internal division into rooms (e.g., the building in Area B11). The buildings have narrow entrances set in one of the longer walls. In some buildings, only the stone foundations of the walls were preserved, up to the height of the plaster floors; in these instances, most of the wall was probably made of burnt clay that did not survive. The plaster floors were laid on a bedding of small, densely packed angular stones. The floors were prepared in three stages: first, the bedding of small stones was covered with coarse plaster, which contained large inclusions, that filled the spaces between the stones and bonded them to create a uniform layer; then, a thick layer of refined plaster with few inclusions was spread over this level foundation; in the third stage, a thin layer of high-quality plaster devoid of inclusions was laid, was usually smoothed and sections were painted in red. The edges of the plaster floors abutted the buildings’ walls, overlapping them in many places (Fig. 5). Burial pits dug in some of the floors contained interments placed in a flexed position; following the burial, the pits were covered over with plaster of a lower quality than that of the floor. This burial practice was common in the PPNB.
Area B3 yielded a building consisting of several rooms arranged along a long wall (length 10 m, width 0.45 m; Sqs BC–BD32–34; Fig. 6) built of two rows of stones and preserved to a height of three courses. One of the rooms was rectangular (1); its west and north walls and a small section of its east wall were preserved, as well as a floor of coarse, friable plaster laid over a thick bedding. A pit (diam. 0.45 m) in the northwest corner of the room contained a burial of an adult male placed in a flexed position on his right side. A small stone ring was discovered beside the bones of the hand. Immediately to the southeast of Room 1, was another rectangular room (2); its west wall, part of its north wall and three superimposed plaster floors were preserved. The lower two floors were well preserved, whereas the uppermost floor was poorly preserved. The lowest floor was smoothed and painted red. The southern part of its bedding was well preserved and covered the base of the south wall (see Fig. 5). An oval installation was dug in this floor down to the soil (0.4 m excavation depth); it contained a thick plaster matrix. The installation was probably used to prepare the plaster for the two upper floors. When the uppermost floor was laid, the installation was covered over with a thin layer of high-quality plaster and was rendered obsolete. Three burials (L1169) were discovered beneath the remains of the building in BD34.
Area B10 yielded the remains of rectangular buildings (Fig. 7), which consisted three successive construction phases from the middle phase of the PPNB period. Most of the buildings’ walls were constructed of two rows of stones. The buildings included burial pits underneath the floors and installations, including a built hearth (L4591) and a granary (L4616). The buildings’ floors were covered with alluvial soil mixed with bits of charcoal and charred seeds.
The earliest, deepest building phase was founded on a sterile layer of terra-rossa soil overlying the bedrock. In this phase, a broad house was built along a north–south axis (3.6 × 5.5 m). Its south and west walls were well preserved, whereas only one row of stones was preserved from its north and east walls. Inside the buildings, a thick plaster floor painted red was discovered with several round pits around its edges, which may have been used as bases for wooden beams that supported the roof. An oval plastered basin was installed in the east part of the building’s floor. In the middle phase, a massive building was constructed with two rooms along a north–south axis, and a wide room aligned east–west; its east wall (W4; length 6.5 m) was built on top of the plaster floor from the earlier phase. The building’s rooms contained thick plaster floors with surfaces that were smoothed and painted red; in some sections, the floors covered the bases of the walls. Round pits used for burial were unearthed beneath the floors. A thin layer of stones covered the middle construction phase and separated it from the building of the latest phase. In the latest, upper phase a rectangular building was constructed along an east–west axis; it resembled the building from the middle phase, but its walls were constructed of only one row of stones. A thin plaster floor, neither smoothed nor painted, was found inside the building.
Area B11 yielded part of a rectangular building (Sq BL44; Fig. 8): the west wall, a section of the north wall and a thick plaster floor (0.2 m thick). The walls were built of a single row of stones and were preserved to a height of two courses. Its smoothed plaster floor was set over a layer of small, densely packed stones (0.2 m thick). Within the building were two flint items that are commonly found in assemblages from the middle phase of the PPNB: A naviform blade and a Jericho point.
Stratum 3
Numerous architectural remains, extending over c. 3 dunams, were discovered in all the excavation areas of Section B, particularly in its western, northern and eastern parts. Some were those of individual dwellings, and others belonged to massive public buildings. The buildings do not exhibit a uniform plan or construction method; some are crowded with small rooms, while others are spacious and have long rooms. Most of the buildings in this stratum are located around an open area in the middle of Section B, where layers of small stones were discovered with no accompanying architecture, along with activity areas where stone quarrying and dressing took place, probably for preparing lime for the site’s numerous plaster floors.
Areas B3–B5 yielded remains of rectangular buildings with stone-built walls preserved to a height of at least two courses; most of the construction was planned to suit the moderate slope of the ancient landscape.
A rectangular building built along an east–west axis was uncovered in Area B3. Its floor was made of mud-brick material, and its walls were preserved to a height of 0.6 m. A long, substantial wall abutted the building on the east, and separated it from the open area in the middle of Section B.
In Area B4, a long, narrow building (3.4 × 6.1 m) was uncovered. It was divided by stone walls into three parts: two narrow cells and a room that opened to the south. Near the entrance to the building, a heavy, cube-shaped stone block bearing signs of knapping and dressing was placed on a level stone surface. It may have functioned as a standing stone (stela) that was associated with the nearby structure.
Three building complexes were unearthed in Area B5. One of the complexes, in the southwest of the area (Sq BC39), included a rectangular building, of which the west and east walls and a section of the north wall were preserved, as well as the remains of two superimposed plaster floors. The lower floor was made of high-quality plaster (c. 5 cm thick) and covered a large area; its upper surface was smoothed and retained traces of paint. Two burials were discovered in the building, one beneath this floor and one on top of it; both interments were found in articulation in a flexed position. In neither of the burials was the skull removed, as was the custom in this period. The upper floor was made of a thin layer of lower-quality plaster, and it covered a limited area near the east wall.
The second complex, unearthed at the center of the site (Sqs BD40–41; Fig. 9), included the remains of a long structure: its north wall (W2145), a partition wall in the middle of the building (W2060) and a short section of the east wall, with a rounded, raised platform near it. The building had a tamped earth floor; traces of plaster could be discerned in small patches, suggesting that the floor was plastered.
The third complex was excavated in the east of the area (Sqs BE–BF40–41). It comprised a sizeable structure (5 × 6 m; see Fig. 9) with two narrow rooms (1, 2; 1 × 2 m each) in its northeastern part. The walls of the rooms were built of two rows of stones, and their floors were paved with flat fieldstones. Both rooms yielded human skeletal remains, which were probably placed on top of the wall separating the two rooms. Immediately to the south and west of the building was a large courtyard (3) with a plastered floor, which was preserved only in its western side. Five burials were found in the courtyard: three superimposed burials were interred in a built tomb in the courtyard’s southwest corner (4; Fig. 10); one was in the northeast corner; and one—apparently a secondary burial consisting of a spinal cord and some of the limbs—was near the courtyard’s north wall. Jewelry was found on two individuals placed in the same burial (see below). To the south of the large building was a separate small room (L2114), whose walls were built of a single row of large stones; its north wall was curved, and its south wall was damaged when a grave was dug there. It seems that the room did not serve as a dwelling but was rather linked to an organized burial complex.
Area B7. Remains from this stratum were unearthed in all the squares in this area, but only the north part of the area yielded architectural remains; these belonged to two stone-built buildings (1, 2; Fig. 11). Building 1 was a broad structure (24 sq m), of which sections of the west, north and south walls and of the floor were preserved. A built hearth, a square pillar and a post base were uncovered near the northeast corner of the building. Building 2 was built in a north–south alignment and was divided by a wall (W3142) running across its width into two identical rectangular rooms (20 sq m). The floor was made of tamped earth mixed with burnt mud-bricks. In the center of the northern room was a rounded installation (L3164) built of small, densely packed stones, most of which were charred; it contained animal bones and numerous flint tools, featuring a concentration of borers. Fragments of stone rings found on the floor of this room suggest that the borers were part of a stone-ring industry at the site. Stone surfaces (c. 0.6 m thick) with no associated architectural remains were discovered in the south of the area.
Area B8. The architectural remains in the area are meager, possibly due to later construction; they were mostly found at a depth of 1.5 m below the surface. Thick habitation levels (0.8 m thick) uncovered in the west and center of the area contained large quantities of animal bones, flint tools and well-preserved bone tools. Wall stumps that do not form a clear plan were also unearthed. A wall section (length 2 m) built of a single row of stones and part of a hearth were discovered in Sq BI45.
Areas B9 and B15. Remains of the stratum in these areas (1 m thick) were founded on the bedrock; no Stratum 4 remains were found. They comprise stone surfaces interspersed with layers of clayey soil rich in organic material and lumps of clay. A uniform surface of small rounded stones bonded with lime-based mortar was discovered in the upper part of the stratum, directly below the foundations of the Stratum 2 buildings. The shape and size of the stones suggest that they were probably brought from the nearby Nahal Soreq streambed. The stratum was rich in flint tools and animal bones, making it unlikely that it was formed as a result of flooding.
Area B10. Few architectural remains were found on the west side of the area (most of them were in Sqs BL–BM40 and BN–BO41). Squares BL–BM40 (Fig. 12) contained two long substantial walls (W4546, W4568; width c. 0.5 m, preserved height 0.6 m), which ran parallel to each other along a northwest–southeast axis, c. 6 m apart. They were built using different construction methods. Wall 4568, the east wall, was built of two rows of large stones with a fill of small stones. Wall 4546, the west wall, was constructed in three sections, each built using a different method: the south section was built of small rounded stones; the middle section was constructed of stone slabs laid widthwise; and the north section was built of two rows of large stones with a fill of gravelly stones between them. The two walls probably belong to a single rectangular architectural complex.
Squares BN–BO41 yielded the east wall and sections of a plaster floor belonging to a building. The wall’s foundation was laid on a bed of tamped stones, and it resembles W4568 in construction method. The plaster floor had a bedding of small, angular stones. A circular burial pit containing an articulated burial without its skull cut through the floor.
South of this building, in Sqs BN–BO40, was another building: a narrow, rectangular structure founded on the remains of a Stratum 4 building; its remains consisted of a north and a south wall (4 m preserved length) set 1.8 m apart.
Areas B11–B13 yielded two to three habitation levels containing tamped stone surfaces, separated by a thin layer of dark-gray clay, and a few architectural remains.
Stratum 2
Architectural remains were found in six areas: in three areas (B8, B9, B11) they were well preserved, but in the other areas, the remains were too meager to form a clear plan.
Area B8. Architectural remains (Fig. 13) were encountered directly beneath the surface layer (0.8 m thick). Squares BH–BI45 yielded traces of a square building (3.8 × 3.9 m): its west wall and part of its north wall, both constructed of two rows of stones, and a large section of the flooring, which was made of densely packed stones. The floor was disturbed by later intrusions. A circular plaster installation with a shallow depression in its center was discovered in the middle of the floor. Pottery fragments and flint items characteristic of the Wadi Rabah culture were recovered from the floor and from the fill inside the building. Square BJ44 revealed the remains of another square building (2.1 × 2.2 m); three of its walls were well preserved, but the southwest wall had been damaged by a later intrusion. The walls were constructed of a single row of stones and preserved to a height of 0.4 m. A fill of light-gray clayey soil containing abundant flint tools and pottery was discovered inside the building.
Area B9. Two building complexes (c. 300 sq m; Fig. 14) were unearthed directly beneath the surface level, one in the northeast of the area (Sqs BQ–BP35–36) and the other in its south (BN–BP33). A narrow alleyway running east–west separated the two complexes.
The northeastern complex comprised a rectangular building (c. 4 × 8 m) built along a north–south axis. Its wide walls were built of two rows of stones with small fieldstones between them, some of which were taken from earlier structures. Two entrances, a main one and a secondary one, were set opposite each other; the main entrance was in the center of the east wall, while the secondary, narrower entrance was set in the west wall. A narrow partition wall (W4213) ran across the width of the building, dividing it into two rooms of different sizes. A line of stone slabs set on their narrower side, probably standing stones (stelas), was exposed in the southern room. In the northern room was a circular stone-built installation (W4217) with an opening built of flat stone slabs. East of the building, near a row of stones, was a cluster of 20 stone tools, including basalt grinding stones, grinding slabs and rectangular stones bearing dressing and smoothing marks.
The southern complex included a long, east–west-aligned rectangular building. Its north wall, unearthed over a considerable length (length 8 m), was substantially built; its south wall was preserved in only a few intermittent sections; the west wall was only partially excavated; and nothing remained of its east wall. The building’s floor was composed of a layer of tamped earth. Several installations were discovered on the floor, the most prominent of which consisted of a row of elongated stones arranged on their narrow side. A concentration of pottery, numerous lumps of clay, charred bricks and an assortment of stone tools, including hammerstones and grinding implements, were discovered near the stone row. In the west part of the building were the remains of two rectangular rooms (1, 2). Three outer walls—north, east and south—were preserved in Room 1 (Sq BN34). A circular installation built of stone slabs and containing ash and reddish mudbrick material was found near the room’s south wall. The room yielded only a few finds, including several sickle blades and an adze from flint and a rounded ceramic bowl. Only two outer walls—north and west—were preserved from Room 2 (Sq BN33); the west wall had a narrow entrance, whose threshold was built of a row of small stones. The room yielded another circular installation (0.45 m diam.) built of medium-sized fieldstones. The installation was not excavated, but it evidently had a fill of light-gray alluvial soil with lumps of charcoal.
A bell-shaped pit (L4387; diam. 3.5 m) with an abundance of Late Pottery Neolithic finds was unearthed on the northwest edge of the area (Sqs BN–BO36). The pit was dug to a depth of 1.5 m inside Stratum 3. It contained dark-gray clayey alluvial soil mixed with small stones and a large quantity of pottery characteristic of the Wadi Rabah culture.
In the east of the area, the stratum was poorly preserved following digging for laying the foundations for a modern agricultural terrace wall. A layer of soil mixed with potsherds and flint tools characteristic of the Late Pottery Neolithic period—a variant of the Wadi Rabah culture—was discovered in this part of the area.
Area B11. The northern part of the area yielded remains of a spacious rectangular building (L5128; 50 sq m; Fig. 15) comprising a square room (3.5 × 3.5 m) and a wide front courtyard extending to east and bordered by a wall on the east. The room’s stone-built walls were preserved to a maximum height of 0.6 m. A pier in the east wall was built near an entrance (width 0.6 m). The room had a tamped-earth floor bearing in situ pottery. A circular stone, probably a base for a for roof-supporting pillar, was set on the floor in the center of the room. A similar tamped-earth floor was uncovered in the courtyard. A circular granary dug into the soil (L3688; depth 0.6 m) and containing a large quantity of organic material was discovered near the building. Part of a refuse pit with copious amounts of Neolithic-period potsherds and a built hearth, which were probably associated with the building, were unearthed to its west. The large size of the structure suggests that it was a public building.
Stratum 1
The surface layer comprised numerous modern disturbances and meager Roman-period architectural remains, which are the most southerly found from this period at Moza.
Area B5 yielded a narrow, north–south water channel built of two rows of stones set on their narrow side and covered with stone slabs. Roman-period potsherds were recovered from the channel bedding. It was probably an irrigation channel—part of the agricultural hinterland of the Roman-period settlement uncovered several dozen meters to the north.
Area B8 yielded the southern end of a Roman-period building (Sq BJ46), which continued northward, beyond the excavation area. Its remains comprise a stone wall with a nearby circular installation. A soil deposit between the wall and the installation contained numerous potsherds dating from the period between the two Jewish rebellions.
Area B10 yielded a pit full of stones. At the bottom of the pit were eight tiny glass bottles (heigh c. 0.1 m; Fig. 16) of a type common in the Roman period; such bottles were frequently used as grave goods.
The excavation in Section B unearthed 43 individuals in 40 burials: five in Stratum 4 (Middle and Late PPNB), 29 in Stratum 3 (Late PPNB) and six in Stratum 2 (Late Pottery Neolithic). The funerary practices in Strata 3 and 4 are similar. Most burials were located inside the buildings, under plaster floors and near the walls. The deceased were placed in a tightly flexed position, suggesting that they were interred in a container or tightly bound with a from a perishable material. Most of those buried in Stratum 2 were found within an earth fill, unrelated to architectural remains; the majority were placed in a flexed position. A preliminary examination of the funerary practices in Stratum 2 shows that the burial positions resemble those of the two earlier strata.
Stratum 4
Five burials were found, all beneath plaster floors inside buildings. Three of the burials were encountered in Area B3 and two in Area B10. Four out of the five were primary burials, placed in a flexed position; the fifth was a secondary burial of an adult male estimated to be 50 years of age. The skulls were missing—a common funerary practice in PPNB.
Stratum 3
A total of 29 burials contained the remains of 31 individuals: 21 primary burials of single individuals, four secondary burials (two with two individuals) and four secondary burials containing only parts of skeletons, mostly the long limb bones. Twenty adults, two youths and nine infants were identified.
Square B5 yielded a built tomb containing three individuals buried on top of each other: a boy, 5–7 years old; above him an adolescent of unknown sex, 11–14 years old; and on the top—the remains of an adult aged over 60. Grave goods or decorative items were deposited in most of the burials in this stratum. The most common grave goods are fox mandibles and a pair of sea shells. The decorative items include beads made of ordinary stone or green stone, as well as stone rings and bracelets. In the built tomb, a necklace made of seven stone beads was found on the youth’s chest, and a stone bracelet was found near the adult’s right arm. An adult buried in Area B3 was found with a stone ring. One of the burials in Area B10 yielded round green-stone beads that were found beside the deceased.
Stratum 2
Six burials discovered in the fills between the buildings contained seven individuals: five primary burials of single individuals placed in a flexed position and one secondary burial containing two individuals. The remains were those of six adults and a child. All of the skeletons retained their skulls, but no grave goods or ornamental decorative objects were recovered.
Flint Items
Three flint assemblages were recovered from the excavation in Section B: two date from the PPNB (Strata 4 and 3), and one—a variant of the Wadi Rabah culture—dates from the Late Pottery Neolithic (Stratum 2). The following description of the finds is based on preliminary classification of the assemblages.
The raw material used in the site’s flint industry comes from its immediate vicinity. An examination of samples from the three assemblages indicates that they all used the same four types of raw material and that the frequency of the different materials within the assemblages was identical. The most common material is Cenomanian flint, which comes from the nearby Kefar Ye‘arim formation; it appears in two shades, light gray and dark gray and is of good-quality, with no calcareous veins. The second material is Eocene flint, which comes from marl outcrops; it is dark brown and of fine quality. The third type of flint is probably from the Mishash formation, found in the lower hills between Mevasseret Zion and Shoresh; it is dark gray, of medium quality and contains calcareous veins. This type of flint was usually used to prepare ad-hoc tools. The fourth type of raw material is also Eocene flint; it is fine-grained and light beige, and was used to prepare formal tools, such as arrowheads and sickle blades.
The three flint assemblages contain all the elements of the industry, indicating that the flints were probably knapped at the site. The assemblages comprise numerous flakes, a small quantity of debitage, blades, bladelets and a variety of tools, some ad-hoc and others formal. The industry in the three assemblages is a flake industry, and most of the cores are flake cores. Nevertheless, it was observed that in the Early PPNB (Stratum 4), a third of the flint industry belonged to a blade and bladelet industry. The flakes in all the assemblages vary in dimension, and many retain a thin calcareous cortex. The industry includes a small group of debitage items, the result of the renewal of cores and the manufacture of burins and bifacial tools. Cores are not well represented in the assemblages; most have no distinct form due to their intensive utilization, and the scars they bear are consistent with the production of flakes. A few cores bear traces of bladelet scars. The PPNB assemblages include several cores with opposing striking platforms, from which bidirectional blades were produced, as well as cores shaped using naviform technology but with the striking platform on the wider side of the core.
Pre-Pottery Neolithic B (Strata 4 and 3). The flint assemblages of the two earliest strata contain a large number of tools, the most prominent of which are deeply denticulated sickle blades (Fig. 17). The cutting edges of the sickle blades had deep, coarse denticulation, and many were shaped using bi-facial pressure retouching. This retouching technique creates deep, even notches along the cutting edge. The first stage in the denticulation process was delicate denticulation from the dorsal to the ventral side of the item, followed by additional denticulation at the original denticulation points but in the opposite direction, from the ventral to the dorsal side. This process deepened and sharpened the teeth between the notches, forming a serrated edge. Most of the sickle blades have one cutting edge, although a few have two: the side opposite the cutting edge was also shaped by denticulation, similar to the retouching on the cutting edge (Fig. 18). The edges of the intact items, as well as those of some of the broken items, were truncated with a semi-abrupt retouch from the ventral to the dorsal side. A few blades have a sharpened distal end and were probably used as end pieces in sickles.
Three types of point were identified among the arrowheads in the assemblages: Byblos points, ‘Amuq points and a few Jericho points (Fig. 19). There are also some points that are classified as transitional types, between the Jericho and Byblos points or between the Byblos and ‘Amuq points. The arrowheads in the PPNB assemblages are relatively short (c. 3.5 cm average length). The ‘Amuq- and Byblos-type arrowheads are conspicuously longer, while the transitional types are shorter. The majority of the arrowheads were shaped on blades. Despite intensive retouch, the types of blades used to make them can in most cases be identified. Most of the arrowheads appear to have been shaped on blades with unidirectional scars produced from cores with a single striking platform; only a few blades had bidirectional scars. A careful selection of blanks for producing arrowheads is evident. The preferred blank was a wide, relatively thick blade that was triangular in section. This type of blade enables the form of the arrowhead to be prepared without premature breakage, resulting in easier shaping. The vast majority of the Byblos-type arrowheads exhibit pressure retouching on their dorsal and ventral sides. The retouching was used mainly to shape the area around the tang. In comparison, most of the pressure retouching on the ‘Amuq-type arrowheads appears on the tang. The body, the arrow and the point were not shaped or retouched.
Bifacial tools are not well represented in the flint assemblages. The axe with a rounded and polished working edge (Fig. 20) is common in this group of tools. This group also features bifacial knives shaped with flat bifacial pressure retouching that covers the dorsal and ventral sides. These knives were shaped on particularly thick items, some of them flat nodules and others long thick blades. Most of the knives are broken, and their distal and proximal ends are missing.
Borers and burins are particularly prominent among the ad-hoc tools and display a certain degree of standardization.
Late Pottery Neolithic (Stratum 2). The cores and debitage attest to a flake industry with a preference for producing tools on blades. The flint assemblage contains several tool types that are characteristic of the Wadi Rabah culture and its later variants, including a triangular transverse arrowhead with a narrow, protruding tang. Most of the sickle blades are of the wide, backed and truncated type. The sickle blades include items whose cutting edges are deeply denticulated and others with a delicately denticulated cutting edge.
Adzes are frequently found in the bifacial group of tools, whereas axes and chisels are rare. Except for the chisels, which were still used in some fashion even after they were broken, no maintenance or renewal of bifacial tools was detected. This is consistent with the paucity of bifacial-tool debitage, indicating that there was probably minimal maintenance of such tools.
Groundstone tools
The excavation areas in Section B yielded 497 stone implements; a large concentration of tools was found in Areas B3, B5 and B9. 70% of the items in the assemblage come from Strata 3 and 4, dating from the PPNB, and 30% were recovered from Stratum 2, dating from the Pottery Neolithic period. An initial examination of the tools shows that hammerstones (55 items) are the most frequent find in all three strata, followed by abraded tools (40 items). These tools were shaped on flint and limestone pebbles and are oval or round in shape. The stone artifacts also feature rings (Fig. 21) and bracelets, most of which were made of calcareous stones and dolomite, and a few—of basalt; the majority were found broken. Some of the bracelets are decorated with engraving or perforations. The high frequency of stone rings and the variety of raw materials from which they were made indicate that the probable existence of a stone-ring industry at the site, as found in contemporary PPNB sites in Jordan. The assemblage of stone artifacts from the excavation also includes a small number of grinding tools, including lower and upper stones, as well as deep and shallow basins, elongated pestles and several stone bowls. Ten cylindrical limestone beads with biconical perforation were also found; they were all recovered from or adjacent to burials. Six of the beads probably come from one necklace (Fig. 22), as they were found around the neck vertebrae of one interred individual.
Faunal skeletal remains
Bone identification was facilitated by the comparative collection of the Laboratory of Archaeozoology at the University of Haifa
The excavation areas in Section B yielded 2311 animal bones. The bones were classified to biological specie and skeletal part using as reference the comparative collection of the Laboratory of Archaeozoology at the University of Haifa, along with other accepted identification methods. The animal’s age was determined based on epiphyseal fusion and dental erosion. Taphonomic evidence, such as charring and gnawing, were also recorded. Of the total number of animal bones found in the section, the biological species was identified for 802 bones: 217 from Stratum 4; 399 from Stratum 3; and 186 from Stratum 2.
Analysis of the animal species in each stratum (Table 2) shows a high frequency of caprines in all strata. Pig is relatively frequent in all strata, although in Stratum 3 there is a slight increase in its occurrence. Cattle bones comprise 12% of the total number of bones in each stratum. Each stratum contains a small quantity of gazelle bones (3.2%–5.4%). The assemblage also includes small carnivore species, such as badgers, mongooses, martens and cats. The presence of rodents and birds in the bone assemblage in all strata is low.
Based on the epiphyseal fusion, most of the bones appear to be those of adult or young-adult individuals, and only a few belong to very young individuals or newborns. The taphonomic evidence on the bones attests to human activity, such as dismembering, cutting and chopping, as well as gnawing by carnivores and rodents.
Comparison of the animal-bone assemblage from the different strata in Section B indicates the beginnings of herd management and possibly even partial domestication in the PPNB, particularly of caprines. Toward the end of the period and in the Early Pottery Neolithic period, there is evidence that domestication and animal husbandry were well-established. In all strata it was evident that hunting continued to be practiced, particularly of deer and gazelle, but it was a secondary branch of the economy.
Table 2. General breakdown of species in Strata 4–2 (%)
Stratum 4
Stratum 3
Stratum 2
Preliminary conclusions
The excavation in Section B, the first of four sections to be excavated at the site, uncovered extensive settlement remains from the Neolithic period in two PPNB strata—one from the Middle and Late PPNB (Stratum 4) and the other from the Late PPNB (Stratum 3)—and one stratum from the Late Pottery Neolithic period, a late variant of the Wadi Rabah culture (Stratum 2). The earliest settlement remains, in Stratum 4, were founded on bedrock, and probably represent a temporary settlement whose buildings were scattered wide apart. The settlement reached its height in the Late PPNB (Stratum 3; PPNC), when it covered hundreds of dunams. During this phase, the building density grew, and private dwellings and public buildings were discovered, as well as remains of various industries. Settlement planning was also evident, with dwellings built around an open area that was used for a shared activity, probably a lime industry for the preparation of plaster. Judging by the animal bones, it appears that herd management and animal domestication began at the site at the height of this period, and that these were firmly established by the end of the Pottery Neolithic period (Stratum 2).
Two conclusions emerge from the excavation of Section B: (a) the extensive area south of the old Highway 1 at the Moza Turn is an inseparable part of Tel Moza and that there is a settlement continuum between the two areas; (b) since the remains at the site cover an area of 300–350 dunams, the Neolithic settlement at Moza should be regarded as a ‘mega site’. The discovery of the site’s full extent, both in previous excavations and in the current excavation, is tremendously exciting since it is the first Neolithic site of such proportions to be excavated to the west of the Jordan and one of the largest sites from this period in the entire Levant.
The site’s excavation is currently continuing in Section A, where numerous architectural remains are being unearthed. These will add to our knowledge of the Neolithic settlement’s layout and development as well as of its economy and the size of its population at the height of its prosperity.