Two squares, c. 20 m apart (Fig. 2), were excavated, yielding architectural remains and a shaft.
Architectural Remains. The foundations of two perpendicular walls (W103, W108), probably the corner of a building, were exposed in the northern square, c. 1.5 m below surface. Wall 103 (length 3.5 m, width 0.6 m, height 1 m; Fig. 3) survived to a height of three courses, and W108 (length 3 m, width 0.5 m, height 0.6 m; Fig. 4) was preserved two courses high. It is possible that the walls extended beyond the limits of the excavation. Abutting the walls was a floor bedding (L110, L111; thickness c. 0.4 m; Fig. 5) that contained small stones and pottery sherds, the latest of which are jars that date from the beginning of the Byzantine period (Fig. 6:2, 3). The accumulations excavated outside the structure (L104, L107, L109) yielded sherds, tesserae, animal bones, coins (below), glass fragments (below) and numerous ex situ fragments of tubuli and bricks, which originally belonged to a bathhouse.
The earliest ceramic artifacts are ascribed to the Hellenistic period (e.g., a jar; Fig. 6:1). Jars from the Byzantine period (Fig. 6:4, 5) and several sherds from the Early Islamic period (not drawn) were also found.
Three bronze coins were discovered: a Hasmonean coin (Jerusalem mint; 134–37 BCE; IAA 154954), a coin of Alexander Jannaeus (Jerusalem mint, 80/79–76 BCE; IAA 154955) and a Late Roman coin (383–395 CE; IAA 154956).
Shaft. A shaft (width 1.25 m; Fig. 7) was exposed in the southern square. A niche (0.5 × 0.5 m) that was partly blocked by a boulder was discovered in the western side of the shaft, at a depth of c. 1 m below its opening. No datable finds were discovered in the fill removed from the shaft and the niche.
One square was excavated in dark, hard clay. A habitation level was discovered c. 0.5 m below the surface, comprising stones and numerous pottery sherds (not drawn), mostly body fragments from the Late Roman, Byzantine and Early Islamic periods.
Some 30 small pieces of glass, mostly body fragments, were found; some are from the modern era. Among the diagnostic fragments are an outfolded rim of a bowl, characteristic of the fourth–seventh centuries CE (from L101, not drawn), and a rim and neck fragment of a bottle, characteristic of the seventh–eighth centuries CE (from L104; Fig. 8:1). A few small chunks of glass production debris were also identified (from L101, L104, L107, L112; Fig. 8:2–6).
The proximity of the excavation area to the H
ulda site (Yannai 2014
) and the finds—remains of a building, remains of a bathhouse and Byzantine-period potsherds—suggest that the excavation unearthed an additional part of the this site. The bathhouse was not revealed, and therefore it seems that the site was not completely excavated, and that the currently identified site is part of a much larger site.