Chalcolithic Period. Two oval-shaped pits dug into the natural hamra soil were unearthed (average diam. 1.3 m, 1.6 m deep; Figs. 2, 3). They contained an accumulation of blackish gray soil containing pottery characteristic of the Chalcolithic period—churns, rhytons, pithoi and open bowls—as well as a few flint items and animal bones. The pits were probably used for storage or refuse.
Middle Bronze Age II
. Six individual pit graves, dating from the end of MB IIA–beginning of MB IIB, were discovered (Fig. 4); an infant jar burial was also found. The graves join 94 others that were excavated nearby (Jakoel and Beʼeri 2016
). Two relatively well-preserved tombs each contained a primary burial in a supine position on an east–west alignment. Grave offerings placed beside the individuals included one or more shallow, carinated or deep bowls—which were probably used as goblets and drinking cups—and oil lamps, all intended to serve the basic needs of the deceased after death (Be’eri 2008
:381–382). Some of the burials were marked with jars or pithoi, which were placed over the legs of the deceased. Dipper juglets found inside the jars may have contained liquids. One of the jars placed above a burial pit contained an interred infant, of whom only one bone was preserved. This is the first evidence of an infant burial, and specifically of a jar burial, in an MB II grave at Yehud.
Late Bronze Age II
. Four individual pit graves were discovered (Fig. 5). They join fourteen others that were excavated nearby (Jakoel and Beʼeri 2016
: Fig. 4). The LB II graves were dug alongside the Middle Bronze Age graves, and it seems that care had been taken not to disturb them. Three of the four interred individuals lay in a north–south direction. Grave goods placed with the deceased included shallow or carinated bowls, jugs and juglets. All the graves contained imported Cypriot vessels, principally Cypriot Base Ring II Ware jugs and juglets. A CBR II drinking bowl, a Cypriot White-Shaved dipper juglet and a Cypriot Red Lustrous spindle bottle were also retrieved. The pits were covered with soil; jars, pithoi and a large flask were placed above the legs of the interred to mark the location of the grave. Some of the jars contained dipper juglets, goblets or drinking bowls and one of the graves contained a jug and a shallow bowl.
Early–Middle Roman Period (first–mid-second centuries CE). Two oval/bell-shaped pits (average diam. 1.4 m; Fig. 6) were discovered dug into the natural hamra soil. They contained an accumulation of brownish gray soil mixed with some fragments of fired bricks and potsherds: cooking ware, including pots and lids; tableware, comprising bowls and jugs; and storage ware, namely jars. The pits were probably used for everyday storage in this period.
Byzantine Period (fourth–seventh centuries CE). The remains of a large rectangular building (c. 400 sq m) with wide external walls (average width 1.2 m; Fig. 7) preserved only to foundation level, were uncovered. Parallel, slightly narrower internal walls (average width 0.9 m) delineated a central rectangular courtyard with surrounding porticoes. The inner walls may have functioned as a plinth for column bases, like the column base found ex situ in the north of the excavation area (Fig. 8). Fine colorful mosaic pavements with geometric and vegetal motifs were found in the west portico (Fig. 9), and with a circular design in the north portico (Fig. 10). The mosaic floor’s bedding was made of small stones and potsherds set in white plaster laid over the hamra soil. A similar bedding was found throughout the entire courtyard with patches of delicate mosaics that indicate that the central courtyard was also adorned with a fine mosaic. Service areas were built in the southern part of the building, such as a room where a plastered rectangular installation was found (Fig. 11). A storage area discovered in the southwest part of the building contained in situ jars and an imported amphora.
Approximately 35 m south of the building was a refuse pit. It contained pottery—storage vessels, namely jars; cooking ware, including pots, mortaria, casseroles and lids; tableware, comprising bowls and jugs; and oil lamps—as well as glass fragments and animal bones.
Early Islamic (mid-seventh–ninth centuries CE). The building erected during the Byzantine period continued to be used in this period, but a few repairs were made to it—the installation of a new floor, mainly in its northern part, and the addition of a wall in its northwestern part (see Fig. 9).
The Chalcolithic-period remains resemble contemporary remains exposed in previous excavations in the region and provide a glimpse of life during the period. The graves that were unearthed complete the overall picture of the burial ground in MB II and LB II, contributing to an understanding of its extent in the different periods and demonstrating the similarities and differences between these two periods. The remains from the Early–Middle Roman periods resemble the remains exposed in previous excavations in Yehud, suggesting that a residential area may have existed at the site in this period. The adjacent contemporary burial ground may be associated with the remains (Jakoel and Beʼeri 2016
). The Byzantine-period remains, as well as those exposed in the adjacent excavations attest to industrial activity at the site (e.g., the winepress complex in Jakoel and Beʼeri 2016
) alongside villas (e.g., Fig. 1: A-5646; Korenfeld and Bar-Nathan 2014