The Early Roman Village

Three walls, arranged in a U formation (140 sq m), were discovered in the southern part of the site. The foundations of the building contained finds from the second century BCE, the time when the village was established.

Eight ritual baths (Miqwa’ot; Fig. 2), five refuge caves of different sizes (Fig. 3), nine water cisterns, silos, and many installations whose function is unclear were exposed; they belonged to the period when the site had reached its maximum size (first century BCE–first century CE). In some of the complexes the installations were converted and adapted for concealment. A rich assortment of ceramic and numismatic finds was recovered from the refuge caves and the underground rooms that were not damaged. The assemblage of pottery vessels included a variety of complete vessels (following restoration) from the second century CE (Fig. 4).


The Byzantine and Early Islamic Settlement

The settlement remains were concentrated in the northern part of the site, where an oil press from the sixth century CE and an arched pool, dating to the Early Islamic period (Fig. 5), were uncovered.


The Oil Press. The press was exposed to a maximum height of 1.5 m, but it can be reconstructed to its full height. Two rows of bases for arches that spanned a distance of 3.8 m and supported the roof were found on the first story. Segments of a white mosaic floor, which sealed two Byzantine jars, in situ, on the floor of the first story, evidenced the building’s second story. A pressing installation that consisted of a long beam set into the eastern wall and two stone weights (diam. 0.8 m, height 1.2 m) that were connected to the other end of the beam was discovered. A fragment of a crushing basin (yam) was in the fill of the adjacent pool.


The Arched Pool. A hewn rectangular pool (8 x 12 m, depth 4.5 m), having four phases of use, was revealed. In the main phase the pool was divided by two east–west rows of three columns, joined by arches that spanned a distance of 2.4 m. The column rows were 3.5 m away from the walls of the pool (Fig. 6).


Nomadic Occupation in the Mamluk Period

A nomadic presence from the Mamluk period was discerned in the eastern part of the site, following a settlement hiatus of hundreds of years. Several ovens and signs of habitation inside a collapsed water cistern indicated the extent of the occupied area. A large amount of ceramic finds was retrieved from the Roman-period ritual bath that was turned into a refuse pit during the Mamluk period (Fig. 7). A large limekiln (diam. 5.2 m) was built inside the northern part of the arched pool in the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries CE.