Two squares (A1, A2; 50 sq m) were excavated, revealing remains of three walls, a floor bedding, an installation and a living surface. Two strata (II, I) were identified, both dating to the Umayyad period, and possibly to the beginning of the Abbasid period. All of the architectural remains can be attributed to the same time range, although, due to the location of the site, on the slope of the tell, potsherds and finds from earlier periods were recovered from all loci.
Square A1 (Figs. 1, 2).Stratum II comprises two parallel walls that are built on foundations of small stones, probably representing two buildings. Two courses of large fieldstones and hewn stones in secondary use were preserved of the northern wall (W110). Three courses of large fieldstones were preserved of the southern wall (W109). Brown earth (L106, L115) was excavated between the walls, but no remains of a floor were identified (Fig. 3). A thick layer of small stones (L112; Fig. 4) was located south of W109 and covered the wall. A similar layer (L116) lies north of W110.
Stratum I contains a living surface with patches of burnt earth mixed with ash (L104) and layers of small stones (L101) and an installation (L103; not on the plan; Fig. 5).
Square A2 (Figs. 6, 7). Stratum II consists of the foundations of a wall (W113; Fig. 8) and a floor bedding (L111), probably belonging to a single structure. The wall foundation is built of small fieldstones one course high. The floor bedding, made of small fieldstones, abuts the southern face of the wall foundation. These features lie atop sterile brown earth (L114). A mechanically dug probe conducted following the excavation revealed this layer of earth to be at least 2 m deep.
Stratum I (L102; Fig. 6: Section 3–3) is similar to Stratum I in Sq A1, with burnt earth mixed with ash and layers of small stones.
Potsherds dating from the Roman, Byzantine and Umayyad periods were recovered from all loci. The Roman potsherds were sparse. They include a cooking pot (Fig. 9:1) and a jar (Fig. 9:2). The Byzantine pottery includes Phocean Red Slip bowls (Fig. 9:3, 4). Most of the potsherds date to the Umayyad period. These comprise a basin with incised decoration (Fig. 9:5), an Egyptian Red Slip bowl (Fig. 9:6), an open cooking bowl with loop handles placed under the rim (Fig. 9:7), cooking pots (Fig. 9:8, 9), jars (Fig. 9:10–12) and flasks (Fig. 9:13, 14). Potsherds of Red Painted Ware jars and a potsherd of a Kerbschnitt lampion (Fig. 10) were also found. As some of these types (Fig. 9:7, 10–12, 14) continue into the Abbasid period, a slightly later date for the remains, the beginning of the Abbasid period, can not be ruled out.
One coin (IAA 106729; Fig. 11) was found in L101. It is a coin of the Ostrogoth king Theoderic (491–526 CE), minted in Ravenna or Rome between 493 and 518 CE.
The Glass Finds
Ten baskets containing 72 glass finds were collected during the excavations. Of these, about half could be identified and dated. They represent common types—bowls, bottles, wineglasses and lamps—dating from the end of the Byzantine and the beginning of the Umayyad periods. In addition to the vessel shards, several glass fragments present evidence for a nearby glass factory: In L102 in Sq A2, a small lump of raw glass with remains of kiln waste, together with heat-distorted vessel fragments; in L101, an additional lump of crumbling glass, with a spongy and airy texture, is probably also connected to the kiln.
In two earlier excavations, industrial waste indicating a local glass industry was uncovered. In one excavation (Mitler 2010
), the industrial debris was found with material dated to the Roman period. In the other excavation (Amos 2011
), the finds, including industrial waste, were related to the Byzantine period.
Although the architectural remains in both squares were found in Stratum II, it is unclear how they related to each other. Stratum I in both squares is similar, and thus can be identified as a single stratum. The signs of burning in this stratum and the glass waste indicate industrial activity. In the light of other excavations in Sulam, this evidences a continuation of glass production from the Roman and Byzantine periods to the Umayyad period and perhaps to the beginning of the Abbasid period in close proximity to the excavation site.