In June 2017, a trial excavation was undertaken in the village of el-Makr, c. 6 km east of ‘Akko (Permit No. A-8015; map ref. 213415–27/759964–73), prior to construction. The excavation, on behalf of the Israel Antiquities Authority and funded by the Kiyal family, was directed by H. Aboud-Abu ‘Uqsa (field photography), with the assistance of B. Zidan and Y. Lavan (administration), J. Gosker (field photography), R. Liran (surveying and drafting), H. Tahan-Rosen (pottery drawing) and workers from Majd el-Krum.
The ancient settlement was situated on a low limestone hill, over which the southern neighborhood of the village was built. Past surveys and excavations conducted at the site revealed settlement remains, as well as two churches, tombs, cisterns, installations and pottery sherds from the Persian–Byzantine and Crusader–Ottoman periods (Lieberman and Aviam 1994 [Fig. 1: A-1789]; Tzaferis 2001 [Fig. 1: A-728]; Abu-Raya 2015
[Fig.1: A-7037]; Permit No. A-8051). The current excavation unearthed remains of a structure from the Byzantine period.
The remains comprise a corner of a massive structure. The walls (W2, W3; width 1.05 m, height 0.3 m; Figs. 2, 3), preserved to a height of one course, were built of two rows of dressed stones with a fill of fieldstones between them. The foundation of W2 (0.2 × 0.6 × 1.5 m; Fig. 4) was built of small fieldstones. A plaster floor (L6) abutted W3 and covered it; it was laid on a bedding (thickness c. 0.2 m) of gravel and sherds. Remains of a hearth (L5) were found above the floor. On the floor were pottery sherds, including two imported LRC 3 bowls (Fig. 5:1, 2), dated to the mid-sixth century CE, and a bag-shaped jar (Fig. 5:3) with a plain rim, square in profile, and a short neck, which is ribbed at its base. A similar jar with a ridge at mid-neck (Fig. 5:4) was found in floor’s bedding. Jars of this type are dated to the sixth–seventh centuries CE.
Sherds found north of the structure (L1, L4) were dated to the Crusader period. These included a glazed bowl (Fig. 5:5) and a carinated, imported Cypriot bowl (Fig. 5:6) with a plain rim decorated on the inside with horizontal lines, dated to the thirteenth century CE. Also found were two deep cooking pots with a broad mouth (Fig. 5: 7, 8), one with a plain, everted rim and the other with a gutter rim and thick walls. Both pots were coated with brown glaze on the inside and the rim and with splashes of glaze on the outside, and are dated to the second half of the thirteenth century CE (the sherds were lost in a fire, and therefore there is no description of the clay or the glaze).
The excavated structure, dated to the sixth–seventh centuries CE, exhibits characteristics that resemble one of the churches excavated at the site (Tsaferis 2001), suggesting that it was a public structure.
Lieberman R. and Aviam M. El-Makr. 1994. ESI 12:111–112.
Tzaferis V. 2001. Kafr el-Maker. HA-ESI 113:11*.