Area AB (Figs. 2, 3)
The Hellenistic Period. Two worn, dressed limestone blocks, belonging to a wall (W114) founded directly on the uneven bedrock, were exposed in a tiny probe dug below the Roman-period remians. Several sherds of whitish and buff-colored bag-shaped storage jars (Fig. 4:1) from the Hellenistic period (third–second centuries BCE) were found on the bedrock next to the wall (L113, L115). A small lump of iron slag was also found on the bedrock (L115; diam. 9 cm). The wall was probably part of a Hellenistic-period building.
The Roman Period. A corner created by two wide walls (W105, W107) and two patches of packed-earth floors adjacent to the walls (L110, L112) were exposed above the Hellenistic remains; they were probably part of a large building. A few cattle and sheep/goat bones and several Roman-period potsherds were found on the floors. The ceramic finds include Kefar Hananya pottery: a bowl (Form 1B; Fig. 4:2) and a cooking pot (Form 4A; Fig. 4:3), which date the building to the Early and Middle Roman periods (late first to third centuries CE). A single coin found on Floor 110 was an Autonomous coin minted in Tyre (93/4–195/6 CE; IAA 158244), further consolidating this dating.
The Byzantine Period. A stone wall (W103) was built above the Roman-period building remains. A floor of packed earth and small pebble stones (L102, L106) was associated with this wall; the surviving top course of the Roman walls 105 and 107 was incorporated in this floor as a paved area. Byzantine-period (fifth–sixth centuries CE) pottery was found on the floor and in the overlying accumulation (L102, L104, L106). It included Late Roman Red Ware bowls (Fig. 4:4, 5), plain bowls and basins (Fig. 4:6), numerous open casseroles (Fig. 4:7), cooking pots (Fig. 4:8) and storage jars (Fig. 4:9, 10). Additional finds on the floor and in the accumulation included a couple of cattle bones and teeth, a small ceramic perforated artifact, possibly a loom weight (Fig. 4:11), several basalt mortar fragments (Fig. 4:12), seven coins (below), an iron nail, several fragments of glass cups and wine glasses from the Late Roman–Byzantine periods, several large white mosaic tesserae and a couple of roof-tile fragments. Six of the seven coins were identified: a coin of Constantius II (351–361 CE; IAA 158243), a follis of Anastasius I (507–512 CE; mint of Constantinople; IAA 158239), a follis of Justinian (537–539 CE; mint of Antioch; IAA 158238), a Byzantine-Arab follis (645–670 CE; IAA 158242), a follis of Constans II (Islamic countermark Tayyib; 666–668 CE; mint of Constantinople; IAA 158241) and an Islamic fals (675–680 CE; mint of Tabariyya; IAA 158240). The finds, including the predominant open casseroles, the basalt mortars and the animal bones, indicate that this area was probably the courtyard of a Byzantine-period house, where cooking and various other domestic activities took place. The three latest coins suggest that this open courtyard continued to function, or at least was accessed, until the late seventh century CE.
Area AC was located at the northern edge of a building plot. In almost all of this plot, a thick layer of modern debris (average depth 1.2 m) directly overlay the bedrock, with only meager ancient remains extant. At the northern edge only, the bedrock was exposed directly below the topsoil, without an invervening layer of modern dbris; it sloped down from north to south and was pocked with small hollows from water run-off erosion (Fig. 5). A thin layer of small stones (diam. 0.1 m) and soil overlay the uneven bedrock, leveling it out and probably creating an open living surface. This thin layer was visible in the balks, as it continued to the north and east, beyond the excavation limits. Some pottery sherds, a fragment of a basalt grinding mortar and a few fragmentary animal bones were retrieved from this thin layer, both on the bedrock and in the hollows. The pottery from this area (not illustrated) dates mostly from the Early Roman period (first century BCE to first century CE), whereas a few sherds date from the Early Byzantine period (late fourth to fifth centuries CE). It seems that the open living surface was laid in the Early Roman period, and may still have been exposed in the Byzantine period.
The building remains from the Hellenistic, Roman and Byzantine periods unearthed in Area AB indicate that in these periods buildings stood on the lower southeastern slope of the Karm er-Ras hill, extending the previously known settled area slightly further to the southeast (see Fig. 1). The very limited exposure precluded an understanding of the nature of the buildings. The three seventh-century CE coins discovered in this area indicate that there was a presence at Karm er-Ras in the Late Byzantine period, whereas the previous excavations pointed to an abandonment of the settlement by the beginning of the sixth century CE (Alexandre forthcoming
The open living surface in Area AC, dated to the Early Roman period and possibly to the Byzantine period as well, may have been a courtyard or an open area on the village margins, where agricultural processing activities took place. In light of these finds, it is evident that additional archaeological exploration in the immediate vicinity is required to clarify the eastern limits of the Hellenistic, Roman and Byzantine settlements at Karm er-Ras.