During September 2000 a salvage excavation was conducted in Or ‘Aqiva (north; A-3298
*; map ref. NIG 1924/7136; OIG 1424/2136), following the discovery of ancient remains, while trenching an area slated for construction. The excavation, on behalf of the Antiquities Authority and financed by the El-Ha-Ram Company Ltd., was directed by M. Hussein, assisted by A. Hajian (surveying and drafting).
A built installation that was probably a reservoir, dating to the Roman and Byzantine periods, was exposed. Excavations conducted at the site in the past revealed quarries, a limekiln, an ancient road, tombs, sarcophagi, buildings and a threshing floor, mostly dating to the Roman and Byzantine periods (ESI 15:52–54; 20:37*; HA–ESI 110:35*).
The installation was rectangular (5.5
× 7.8 m, depth 1.36 m; Fig. 1) and its walls (width 0.3 m) were built of small fieldstones bonded with cement and preserved 1.14–1.36 m high. The installation’s eastern wall was made thicker with additional construction on the outside. The walls were coated with plaster on their interior, applied to a base of ribbed potsherds. The installation’s floor consisted of a white mosaic that was mostly not preserved. A probe cut beneath the floor, near the western wall, demonstrated that the mosaic was founded on a plaster bedding, applied to a layer of small and medium-sized fieldstones (thickness 0.1 m). The fieldstone layer overlaid a thin hamra layer (thickness 3–4 cm), which superposed two courses of ashlar stones (thickness 0.4 m). It seems the installation was used as a water reservoir; it contained meager ceramic finds that included ribbed body sherds, similar to those found within the plaster base of the walls. The ceramic finds indicated that the installation should be dated to the Roman and Byzantine periods.