The current excavation was undertaken at a site (c. 300 sq m; Fig. 2) from the Umayyad–Abbasid periods (late seventh century–eighth century CE). It unearthed a building, comprising two main construction phases. Several rooms with tabuns were revealed in the building; it seems that the structure was a farmhouse. The remains of the early phase of the building were meager due to their poor state of preservation; the later structure, erected over them, was also poorly preserved, comprising single-course walls above the floors. Some of the floors did not survive, and only floor foundations were exposed. The northeastern part of the building did not survive, having been damaged by a dirt road. A scant amount of pottery sherds and two stone items were found.
Early Phase. Most of the remains ascribed to this phase were discovered in the southwestern part of the building, beneath the remains of the later phase. A farmhouse was revealed; its walls were built of mud bricks set atop stone foundations (Figs. 3, 4). Remains of collapsed mud bricks, tamped-earth floors and tabuns were found in the rooms. The wall foundations were constructed of two rows of medium-sized limestone and flint fieldstones. Only two of the walls were preserved (W27, W28; width 0.4 m, 1–5 courses; Fig. 5). It was not possible to determine the dimensions of the building; however, two rooms were identified in the south and north. The southern room was delimited by W34 in the north, W27 in the south and W28 in the west. The eastern wall, which was not exposed, was probably concealed beneath a wall (W12) from the later phase. An entrance consisting of a threshold built of three small, flat stones was identified north of W27; it was probably fixed in the eastern part of W34, which did not survive. A floor (L138) was exposed, revealing the remains of a tabun (L161; diam. 0.7–0.8 m) built of a circle of stones in the corner of W28 and W34.
The northern room was delimited by W35, W34 and W28 in the north, south and west respectively; here too the eastern wall was not revealed. An entrance threshold, built of three long flat stones, was found in its western part; the room’s floor (L144) was exposed. Several meters to the north, detached from the aforementioned remains, were the remains of a floor (L153; Fig. 6) and a tabun (L156; diam. 0.25 m); it is unclear if they belong to the same structure. The difference in elevation between the floors of the southern part and those of the northern part in both phases is a result of the topography.
Late Phase. A square building (18 × 19 m; Fig. 7) consisting of a central courtyard surrounded by rooms was exposed. The walls of the building were constructed of mud bricks atop stone foundations, and the floors, which were made of tamped soil, were similar to those of the early phase. Most of the walls (width c. 0.6 m) were built of two rows of roughly hewn, medium-sized stones and a core of small fieldstones. The floors were overlain with the mud-brick remains. The building was delimited by walls in the north (W25), south (W10), east (23) and west (W16, W24). It is obvious from the plan of the structure that the building was constructed in phases; however, it is impossible to determine the intervals between them, and they may have been only technical phases.
It seems that the northern row of rooms was built first. Two parallel rectangular rooms were constructed in the northwestern part of the building. The northern room comprised the delimiting walls (W24, W25, W30, W31), a floor (L150) and remains of a hearth (L155; diam. 0.4 m) built of river pebbles, which contained burnt matter. An opening (width 0.6 m) at the eastern end of W31 led to the southern room. The latter—delimited by W24, W30, W31 and W41—was the only room in the building in which two floors were exposed one atop the other (L159, L165; Fig. 7: Section 1–1). East of the two rectangular rooms was a square room comprising delimiting walls (W11, W20, W25 and W30), a floor (L125) and a rectangular installation (L130; 0.7 × 1.2 m) that was partially preserved. The installation was built of tabun material and was enclosed within a stone-built frame. The row of rooms extended eastward but was only partly preserved, and it was impossible to discern the outline of the rooms.
Three rooms were identified in the western row of rooms. The northern one (L124) was delimited by Walls 16, 21, 29 and 41. As W16 was not the continuation of W24 but rather another wall that adjoined W20, the western row of rooms is an addition to the northern row of rooms. However, it was apparent that the corners formed by W20 and W24 and W24 and W25 were built of large stones, and it seems that they were carefully planned, as opposed to the corners between the walls of the western row, which were haphazardly constructed. An opening (width 0.7 m) located in the center of W29 led to a room (L120; delimited by W16, W17, W21 and W29), where a floor and remains of a tabun (L171; diam. 0.7 m) were found. A room to the south (L123; delimited by W10, W12, W16 and W17) had remains of a floor beneath a layer of collapse. Wall 12 was not the continuation of W21.
On the southern side of the building was a row of service rooms built of scanty walls (W13, W15, W19, W37), without foundations, preserved to a height of one or two courses. A grinding stone (Fig. 7:5) was found on a floor (L115) in one of the rooms. A tabun (L118; diam. 0.45 m) was also exposed. The orientation of W19 was unusual, as it may have served as a work surface. A room (L111) to the east of Room 115 was partly open toward the central courtyard; it comprised a floor, a tabun (L114; diam. 0.45 m) and a bench or work surface (L127). To the east was a room (L157) that opened out toward the courtyard as well. In the southeastern room of the building (delimited by W10, W23, W26 and W33) a floor was exposed (L164). The eastern part of the structure was partially preserved; in its southern part were two small rooms (L175; delimited by W23, W32, W33, W39 and W40).
A floor (L126), a tabun (L128; diam. 0.3 m) and work surface (L133) were exposed in the northern part of the inner courtyard; a wall (W38) in its western part may have been the remains of an installation or work surface.
The Finds. The ceramic artifacts that were discovered in both phases of the farmhouse date to the Abbasid period. The finds include two FBW hemispheric bowls (Fig. 8:1, 2), a plain hemispheric bowl (Fig. 8:4), a carinated bowl with a plain rim (Fig. 8:5), a fragment of a bowl glazed in white and green (Fig. 8:6), a bowl with an inverted rim made of buff-white clay (Fig. 8:7), a deep bowl with a thickened and inverted rim (Fig. 8:10), three casseroles (Fig. 9:1–3) and a casserole lid (Fig. 9:4). Among the vessels that were found were seven Mafjar-type jugs (Fig. 9:5–11), two flasks (Fig. 9:12, 13), three bag-shaped jars with long necks (Fig. 9:14–16) and three mold-made lamps (Fig. 10:1–3). In addition, two stone objects were found: a grinding stone (Fig. 10:4) and a bowl (Fig. 10:5). Besides the Early Islamic artifacts a number of pottery sherds were found that are characteristic of the Late Byzantine period, including a plain hemispheric bowl with a combed decoration below the rim (Fig. 8:3), two LRC bowls (Fig. 8:8, 9), a deep bowl with two handles and an everted rim (Fig. 8:11) and a fragment of bag-shaped jar (Fig. 9:10).
The building dates to the Early Islamic period, but it is possible that its construction began in the Late Byzantine period. The nature of the building is agricultural and it was apparently a farmhouse. The early building was evidently canceled by the construction of a larger farm house. The construction methods utilized in both phases are similar. It seems that the later phase was constructed in two parts, whereby the northern part was built first. The building’s entrance was not found; it may have been situated in the eastern part of the structure, of which only little was preserved.