In January 2018, a salvage excavation was conducted in Ibthan village, on the northeast side of a site slated for building in a plot belonging to a private entrepreneur (Permit No. A-8200; map ref. 204858–84/696955–81; Fig. 1). The excavation, undertaken on behalf of the Israel Antiquities Authority and underwritten by Abu Hableh Iy’ad, was directed by D. Masarwa, with the assistance of E. Bachar (administration), R. Cohen (drafting) and P. Gendelman (consultant archaeologist).
Kh. Ibthan is located on a chalk hill in the eastern Sharon, in the Samaria foothills and to the south of Nah
aviva, one of the tributaries of Nah
adera. The excavation area lies to the south of the area excavated in 2010 (Masarwa 2011
) and near other excavations conducted in 2010–2015 (Masarwa 2016
, and see references cited therein) that unearthed settlement remains from the Hellenistic, Roman and Byzantine periods, as well as the infrastructure of a Roman road and agricultural terraces. An excavation in 2017 (Permit No. A-7994), to the east of the current excavation, uncovered four main strata and a few sub-phases dating from the Persian–Hellenistic periods to the late Byzantine period.
The current excavation comprised one square opened in the east part of the building plot; the square was widened to the north and south by mechanical equipment, exposing the remains of a wall that probably delineates the a west–south Roman road (second–third centuries CE).
After the mechanical removal of the surface layer (0.5 m thick), a long north–south wall was encountered at a depth of 0.7 m (W801; length 9.5 m, width 0.6 m; Figs. 2, 3); it extends beyond the excavation area. The wall is built of a single course of large and medium-sized fieldstones set in a single row on hard clay soil. On each side of the wall it is abutted by layer of brown tamped earth containing gravel and potsherds (L802 and L800, respectively), probably floor bedding. The pottery found in the floor beddings and above them consisted of jars from the Roman period (Fig. 4; second–third centuries CE).
Wall 801 and the floor bedding abutting it were probably the continuation of a north–south Roman road.