In July–August 2006, an archaeological excavation was conducted to the north of Tel Zofrim (Tel Menora; Permit No. A-4853; map ref. 249027–491/704085–90; Fig. 1), after ancient remains were damaged during the installation of a sewer line. The excavation, undertaken on behalf of the Israel Antiquities Authority and financed by the Tiberias S.H. Building Development & Piping Company, Ltd., was directed by W. Atrash, with the assistance of Y. Yaʽaqobi and Y. Lavan (administration), V. Essman and T. Meltsen (surveying and drafting), A. Shapiro (GPS), H. Smithline (field photography), Y. Kadosh (research assistant), H. Tahan-Rosen (pottery drawing) and N. Feig (ceramics).
Two excavation areas (A, B), each comprising two squares (4 × 4 m), were opened c. 500 m apart. A yielded remains of a water reservoir ascribed to the Byzantine period and a wall of a dam of uncertain date, and Area B—remains of a Byzantine-period winepress.
Area A. A section of a massive dam wall (W101; upper width 0.7 m, bottom width 1 m) and the western part of a water reservoir were exposed (Figs. 2, 3). The dam wall was built of limestone fieldstones with a core of small stones and ground travertine. Both faces of the wall were covered with a thick encrustation of travertine that accumulated as a result of flowing water. The wall was founded on a layer of yellow alluvium (L103, L109) that contained numerous pottery sherds from the Byzantine period. Stones that had collapsed from the dam wall mixed with yellow alluvium (L100, L104) were found between the wall and the water reservoir, which was constructed to its east. The reservoir was only partially uncovered (Fig. 4). Its walls (W102, W106; preserved height 0.4 m) were constructed of large limestone fieldstones with smaller stones inserted in between. The core of the walls consisted of small stones bonded with mortar. Both faces of the walls were treated with hydraulic plaster and covered with a thick layer of travertine that had formed as a result of flowing water. The walls of the reservoir were founded on a tamped layer of gray earth and crushed lime that was also used for the floor. A layer of yellow alluvium (L105, L107, L108) containing a mixture of pottery sherds from the Late Bronze, Iron, Hellenistic and Byzantine periods had accumulated above the floor.
Area B. Remains of a winepress (Figs. 5, 6) that included a treading floor (L213; 2.7 × 6.0 m), three collecting vats (I–III) and a storage compartment were exposed. The treading floor was rectangular and shallow, and was delimited on the southwest by a travertine wall (W214) preserved to a height of only one course. The floor was made of hydraulic plaster, of which several patches survived. It was founded on small field stones placed on a layer of natural soil (Fig. 7). The floor sloped toward the three collecting vats, situated to its southeast. The vats were symmetric and meticulously hewn into a layer of travertine. Their walls (W202, W204, W207, W208, W211) were built of travertine fieldstones, with a core made of small stones and mortar. The walls and the floors of the vats were treated with hydraulic plaster. It covered flat fieldstones bonded with mortar, which were set on the travertine bedrock (Fig. 8). The main collecting vat (II; L210) was especially large (1.8 × 2.0 m, preserved depth c. 0.75 m); A large depression (diam. c. 0.65 m, depth 0.12 m) at the center of its floor served as a sump for remnants of the must. The two other collecting vats (I, III; L205, L209) were smaller (1 × 1 m, preserved depth 0.4 m). The collecting vats were covered by a layer of collapsed travertine blocks, lumps of plaster and gray soil that contained several pottery sherds from the Byzantine period. The northwestern part of the vats was destroyed during the installation of the sewer line. A compartment that was probably used to store the grapes prior to treading was revealed slightly southwest of the treading floor. The compartment also has a floor of hydraulic plaster; it was set c. 0.2 m lower than the level of the treading floor.
In the topsoil in both excavation areas (A, B) were pottery sherds which date from the Intermediate Bronze, Middle Bronze II, Late Bronze, Iron, Hellenistic and Byzantine periods. Ceramic artifacts of these periods were found at Tel Zofrim and at Tel Qarnayim.
Intermediate Bronze Age
: a bowl and a cooking pot. The bowl is made of reddish clay (Fig. 9:1) and is adorned with thumb impressions on the rim and below it, a decoration that is characteristic of the Intermediate Bronze Age and is found mainly on jars. A similar bowl with this type of decoration, this time only on its rim, was revealed in the Jezreel Valley, at Nahal Rimmonim (Covello-Paran 2008
: Fig. 5:5). The cooking pot is handmade (Fig. 9:2). It was fashioned from light colored clay that contained a considerable amount of black and white temper. It has a wide opening, no neck and has an everted rim. Such cooking pots were found at contemporary sites in the north of the country and in the Jezreel Valley (Covello-Paran 2008
: Fig. 7:1–3).
Middle Bronze Age II
: The potsherds dating from this period belong all to storage vessels. These include two pithoi and a jar. One pithos has a short neck and square rim (Fig. 9:3), and another has a ridge on its neck (Fig. 9:4). Pithoi such as these were found in Strata IXA–B at Tel Qashish, where they were dated to the MB IIB (Ben-Tor and Bonfil 2003
: Fig. 80:6, Type PII). The jar has a folded rim (Fig. 9:5); similar jars were found at Tel Poleg and at Afeq, where they were dated to the MB IIA. At Tel Qashish they appear in Strata IXA–B, and it is thus reasonable to assume that their use continued into the MB IIB (Ben-Tor and Bonfil 2003
: Fig. 81:21, Type SJ IIB).
Late Bronze Age
: a jar with a rounded rim and long neck (Fig. 9:6). This type, which has a sharp carination near the shoulder, was widespread and prevalent in the Late Bronze Age. A similar vessel was exposed in Strata XIXb–a at Tel Yoqneʽam (Ben-Ami and Livneh 2005
: 292–293, Type SJ AV).
Iron Age: a jar (Fig 9:7) characteristic of the Iron Age IIA.
: a red-slipped bowl with a curved wall (Fig. 9:8). It first appeared in the fourth century BCE and continued to be in use until the second century BCE. Similar vessels were uncovered in northern sites, such as Tel Dor (Guz-Zilberstein 1995
: Fig. 6.1:1–29).
: jars. One jar has an everted rim and a tall neck ending in a carinated shoulder above a shallow-ribbed elongated body (Fig. 9:9). Such jars are common at Galilean sites, such as Capernaum, where they were dated to the fourth–sixth centuries CE (Loffreda 2008
: ANF 20 DG-82). Three bag-shaped jars (Fig. 9:10–12) are made of gray clay.
Area A yielded the remains of a wall belonging to a dam, which could not be dated, and part of a Byzantine-period reservoir for water from the nearby spring of ʽEn Pedut. Area B yielded the remains of a Byzantine-period winepress—a treading floor, a storage compartment and three collecting vats—which was treated with hydraulic plaster.
Ben-Ami D. and Livneh A. 2005. The Typological Analysis of the Pottery of the Middle Bronze and Late Bronze Ages. In A. Ben-Tor, D. Ben-Ami and A. Livneh. Yoqneʽam
III: The Middle and Late Bronze Ages; Final Report of the Archaeological Excavations (1977–1988)
(Qedem Reports 7). Jerusalem. Pp. 247–348.
Ben-Tor A. and Bonfil R. 2003. The Stratigraphy of the Early Bronze Age II–III. In A. Ben-Tor, R. Bonfil and S. Zuckerman. Tel Qashish: A Village in the Jezreel Valley; Final Report of the Archaeological Excavations (1978–1987) (Qedem Reports 5). Jerusalem. Pp. 185–276.
Covello-Paran K. 2008. A Bronze Age Site at Naḥal Rimmonim in the Jezreel Valley. ‘Atiqot 60:53–74.
Guz-Zilberstein B. 1995. The Typology of the Hellenistic Coarse Ware and Selected Loci of the Hellenistic and Roman Periods. In E. Stern. Excavations at Dor, Final Report I, B: Areas A and C; The Finds (Qedem Report 2). Pp. 289–433.
HA 1975: A Site Near Tel Menorah. HA 56:21 (Hebrew).
Loffreda S. 2008. Cafarnao VII Documentazione grafica della ceramica (1968–2003) (SBF Collectio Maior 49). Jerusalem.