In August–September 2010, a salvage excavation was conducted on Derekh Ha-Shalom street in Abu Ghosh (Permit No. A-5937; map ref. 210260–465/635135–370; Fig. 1), prior to the laying of a sewer line along the road. The excavation, on behalf of the Israel Antiquities Authority and financed by the Ministry of Transport and Road Safety, was directed by E. Kogan-Zehavi, assisted by E. Bachar (administration), V. Essman and Y. Shmidov (surveying and drafting), A. Peretz (field photography) and I. Lidsky-Reznikov (pottery drawing).
Two excavation areas were opened (A—3.5 × 10.0 m; B—3.5 × 5.0 m; Figs. 2, 3) along a narrow strip in the village center, revealing meager remains and finds from the Early Roman and Byzantine periods. Numerous excavation (Avi-Yonah 1993; Zilberbod 2007a
; Zilberbod 2007b
; Adawi 2016
and see references therein) have been conducted in the village in the past, revealing, among others, remains of a large settlement (c. 28 dunams) from the Neolithic period discovered south of the present excavation (Khalaily and Marder 2003; Khalaily and Barzilai 2007
), as well as remains of a Byzantine-period settlement (de Vaux and Stève 1950).
Area A. Below the modern street level a wall (W102; exposed length 3.5 m, width 0.55 m, height 0.5 m) was exposed in a north-south orientation. Its eastern face was constructed of a single row of partly dressed stones, the western face of medium and small field stones, with a core of small field stones in between; the wall penetrated earlier remains and its date is unclear. To the west of Wall 102 and parallel to it, about 0.5 m lower, the foundation of another wall (W108; exposed length 3.5 m, width 0.5 m, preserved height 0.25 m) was exposed, constructed of partly dressed stones and field stones. To the west of, and alongside Wall 108, a fill of kiln waste was found: layers of crushed chalk, ash, burnt ḥamra soil and brick fragments (L110, L111, L116, L118, L122; height 1.5 m; Fig. 2: section 1–1). Wall 108 was built into the kiln waste, and therefore it is later; however, no finds that could date it were found. Within the fill, pottery dating from the Byzantine period was found, including a red-painted bowl with rouletting (Fig. 4:6), common from the late third to the fifth century CE, a bowl with a thickened rim (Fig. 4:7), dating from the sixth and seventh centuries CE, casseroles with an outturned rim, some that carry a combed wavy decoration on the side (Fig. 4:8–10), characteristic of the fourth–sixth centuries CE, baggy jars with an internally thickened rim and a ridge at the base of the neck (Fig. 4:14, 15), common mostly in the fifth–sixth centuries CE, brick fragments (Fig. 4:16, 17) and roof tiles.
Area B. Within a brown clayey soil layer (L133; Fig. 2: section 1–1), 2.5 m below the modern street level, Early Roman potsherds were found. No architectural remains were found before the excavation was halted without reaching sterile soil. Much pottery was collected from this layer, including the rim of an amphora (Fig. 4:1), three jar rims (Fig. 4:2–4) and a lamp fragment (Fig. 4:5), all common in the second half of the first century BCE.
In the western part of the area, segments of a gray plaster floor (L126) were uncovered, dated to the Byzantine period. Above the floor, the same kiln waste observed in Area A was found, with potsherds from the Byzantine period. Pottery that was collected below Floor 126, included an imported LRC type bowl (Fig. 4:11) dating from the sixth century CE, and two red painted bowls common from the late third to the fifth centuries CE (Fig. 4:12, 13).
On the evidence of the ceramic finds found in the excavation, it seems that this area saw activity in the Early Roman period. From the Byzantine period, part of the floor of a structure or installation was discovered. The Byzantine-period remains can be associated with the remains of the nearby settlement from this period that were found in the past.
Avi-Yonah M. 1993. Abu Ghosh. NEAEHL 1. Pp. 5–7.
Khalaily H. and Barzilai O. 2007. Abu Ghosh. HA-ESI 119
Khalaily H. and Marder O. 2003. The Neolithic Site of Abu Ghosh: The 1995 Excavations (IAA Reports 19). Jerusalem.
de Vaux R. and Stève A.M. 1950. Fouilles Qaryet el-‘Enab, Abu Gosh, Palestine. Paris.