During July 2002 two trial excavations were conducted at Kafr Kama (Permit No. A-3644*; map ref. NIG 24169/73621; OIG 19169/23621; Permit No. A-3684*; map ref. NIG 24161/73620; OIG 19161/23620), prior to the construction of residential buildings. The excavations, on behalf of the Antiquities Authority and financed by the developer, were directed by D. Syon, with the assistance of M. Yitach (administration), A. Hajian (surveying), L. Porat (pottery restoration), H. Tahan (drawing), L. Kupershmidt (metallurgical laboratory) and Y. Gorin-Rosen (glass). The laborers participating in the first excavation were family members and neighbors of the owner of the house. The laborers in second excavation were provided by the Ministry of Labor.
The two excavations, c. 100 m apart, were located in an area where modern buildings that were recently demolished once stood. Finds recovered from both excavations indicated for the first time that the site was settled in the Iron Age. Several limited excavations were conducted at Kafr Kama in the past. The most important was carried out by A. Saarisalo, who uncovered a church dating to the Byzantine period (HA 7:15–16). N. Tzori exposed a tomb from the ‘Talmudic Period’ (HA 28:8–9) and in several salvage excavations that have yet to be published finds from the Roman, Byzantine and Early Islamic periods were discovered.
Two squares (A, B; 2.5 × 5.0 m; Fig. 1) were opened. Along the southern side of Sq A, the bottom course of a wall (W103), built of coarsely dressed basalt stones, was exposed. One of its stones was a finely crafted threshold in secondary use equipped with a socket for a door hinge. The wall’s foundation (2–3 courses), built of fieldstones and small partially dressed stones, was revealed below W103. A stone pavement that was probably a courtyard (L101; Fig. 2) abutted W103 on the north. Below the pavement (L104) three basalt boulders were discovered. At a depth of c. 1.2 m, at the interface between the basalt and the chalk soil (fossil soil), natural ground composed of baked earth was discerned (Fig. 3).
The pottery vessel fragments gathered from the stone pavement did not predate the Umayyad period (eighth century CE). Some sherds from this period were also found below the floor (Fig. 6:14), as well as a few fragments of glass vessels that dated to the Late Roman and Byzantine periods. It therefore seems that the floor dated no earlier than the Early Islamic period. Several potsherds from the Iron Age (tenth–eighth centuries BCE; Fig. 6:1, 3–5, 7) were recovered from the soil accumulation (L104) beneath the floor, especially close to the natural ground. Fragments of pottery vessels from the Hellenistic period (Fig. 6:8) and the Roman period (Fig. 6:9, 10) were collected at several different depths and just below surface.
Two sections of a wall foundation, built of well-dressed basalt stones (W105), were exposed in Square B. Three stones in two courses, one of which was founded on bedrock, survived in the southern section and two stones in two courses were preserved in the other section. A wide entrance can be reconstructed between the wall sections, but no evidence for this was found. The southern section of W105 was found partly covered by a thick layer of lime or plaster that was devoid of potsherds. These were probably the remains of a floor. The natural ground was discerned in the north, very close to the foundation of the wall section, whereas in the south it was noted at a depth of c. 0.6 m below the wall’s foundation.
The ceramic finds included glazed vessels from the Early Islamic (Fig. 6:11) and Mamluk periods (Fig. 6:17) and numerous Iron Age sherds that were close to the natural ground (Fig. 6:2, 6). Two fragments of glass vessels, dating to the Late Roman or Byzantine period, were also found.
Since the orientation of the walls in the two squares differed, there was probably no connection between them; yet, they were possibly from the same period. The difference in elevations between the walls can be attributed to the natural slope of the site.
Based on fragments of pottery vessels that were found and the absence of modern finds, it was determined that the building remains did not predate the Early Islamic period and were not built in the modern era.
Square A was opened next to the western end of the lot slated for construction. A probe trench, excavated in the past, was located along the southern side of the square and on its northern side bedrock was exposed (depth 3–30 cm) below surface. No ancient architectural remains were uncovered, save a row of stones that may have been the wall of a channel that did not survive. Potsherds and glass fragments dating to the Early Islamic period (650–900 [?] CE) were collected, as well as a Byzantine-period coin of the emperor Justin II, struck in Nicomedia in 574/5 CE (IAA No. 102892).
Square B (2 × 5 m; Fig. 4) was opened east of Square A. The foundation of a basalt wall (W22) was discovered just below surface. Modern finds that dated the wall to the twentieth century were found on both of its sides, to its maximum excavated depth (0.5 m below surface). Fragments of pottery vessels dating to the Early Islamic, Mamluk and Ottoman periods were collected from the upper strata. The foundation of W22 was built directly on collapse that consisted of large well-dressed basalt stones, mixed with lime or plaster (L25), which was probably the collapse of an upper story (Fig. 5). The stones were found resting on a hard layer of thick lime plaster that was applied to medium-sized dressed stones (W27). This stratum was probably a floor, although in the limited area of the excavation it was only 0.5 m wide.
Two wall foundations along the northern and western sides of the square were built of natural round basalt stones and formed a corner (W23, W24). The basalt pebbles were bonded with lime plaster and set on a layer of hard plaster. This was probably a foundation course of a wall that did not survive. The excavation ended before bedrock was reached.
Numerous fragments of pottery vessels from the Umayyad period (Fig. 6:13, 15) were found, including an almost intact jar with a missing neck (not drawn) and a lamp (Fig. 6:16).
The limited area of excavation did not permit to understand the plan of the building that was only partially exposed; however, based on the width of the foundations and the size of the building stones (to 0.3 × 0.4 × 0.6 m) this building seems to have been quite large.