The earliest activity documented in the excavation areas occurred in the Iron Age. Late Iron Age (eighth–seventh centuries BCE) pottery fragments were found in non-stratified contexts in the two areas. These include kraters (Fig. 5:1), cooking pots (not drawn) and hole-mouths (Fig. 5:2, 3).
Stratum V. Foundations of a large building constructed along a northwest–southeast axis were discovered in the southwestern area; the building’s walls were severed by later construction. Only a main wall (W17), three perpendicular walls extending to the northeast (W15, W23, W31) and three perpendicular walls extending to the southwest (W21, W33, W37) were unearthed. The main wall was well-built and preserved to a height of four courses (1.3 m; Fig. 6), consisting of large fieldstones arranged as headers with several small fieldstones in between. Walls 21, 33 and 37 may have delineated a courtyard. Walls 15, 23 and 31 were built of two rows of medium-sized fieldstones and seem to have enclosed two rooms constructed perpendicular to the main wall. A low shelf was built of fieldstones along W17 in the northern room (width 2.7 m; Fig. 7). A floor (L133) abutting W17 was found in that room; in part it utilizes the leveled limestone bedrock, and in part it is made of a fill of tamped-soil and small fieldstones. A floor exposed in the southern room (width 1.65 m; Fig. 8) consisted of a level bedrock surface that was one meter lower than the floor in the northern room.
A bronze coin of Alexander Jannaeus (L136; IAA 140989), minted in Jerusalem in 80–76 BCE, and pottery from the second half of the first century BCE were discovered in the foundation of the northern room’s floor. A fragment of a cast glass bowl decorated with horizontal grooves on the inside and vertical ribs on the outside (Fig. 9:1) was discovered in the collapse that filled the northern room (L108). Similar bowls date to the Late Hellenistic and Early Roman periods. Fragments of pottery vessels from the same period, mainly cooking pots (not drawn) and jars (Fig. 5:6), were discovered in the foundations of W15 (L140) and W17 (L139). Among the collapsed stones and in the terra-rossa soil above the floor of the southern room (L107, L124) were pottery sherds, the latest of which date to the second half of the first century BCE. These include an almost complete bowl (Fig. 5:4), cooking pots (Fig. 5:5), jars (Fig. 5:7) and a fragment of an oil lamp (Fig. 5:10).
A retaining wall (W13) discovered in the northeastern area was built of a single row of fieldstones. The wall was preserved to a height of at least four courses and was severed by mechanical equipment. The wall was inclined to the north: each course was set back slightly further north than the one below it. Fill consisting of small fieldstones (L104) abutted the wall from the northeast, whereas a fill of terra-rossa soil and several small fieldstones (L106) abutted the wall on its southwestern side. Numerous pottery sherds from the second half of the first century BCE, including jar fragments (Fig. 5:8) and a base of an unguentarium (Fig. 5:9), were discovered in both of the fills. The terra-rossa fill also yielded a bronze coin (IAA 140986) minted in 104–80 BCE.
Stratum IV. A large water channel (L121; exposed length 1.5 m, width 1 m, depth 0.93 m; Figs. 10, 11) built of two straight stone walls (W24, W25) was discovered in the southwestern area. The walls supported large covering slabs made of flat fieldstones. The bottom of the channel utilized the chalk bedrock. No traces of plaster were discovered on the walls and bottom of the channel. The eastern end of the channel ended in a short stone wall (W36) attached to W17. Fragments of pottery vessels dating to the first century CE and white tesserae were discovered in the alluvium that had accumulated in the channel after it was no longer used (L137). North of the channel, a terra-rossa fill (L115) blocked the northern room of Stratum V. The fill contained pottery sherds belonging to cooking pots (not drawn) and jars (Fig. 13:5) from the first century CE.
Foundations of a building (c. 20 sq m) consisting of two adjacent rectangular rooms were exposed c. 7 m northwest of the channel. The walls of the structure were built of one or two rows of medium-sized fieldstones and the bedrock served as the floors (L116, L131). Sherds ascribed to the first century CE were recovered from the soil accumulation overlying Floor 116. Floor 131 was about 0.4–0.5 m higher than Floor 116. Hollows and grooves in Floor 131 were filled and paved over with stones (L135). The foundation course of W33 (Stratum V) and an olive crushing installation equipped with a peripheral channel (Fig. 12) were integrated in the floor. A ceramic bottle (Fig. 13:6), a fragment of a krater (Fig. 13:8) and an elliptical stone bowl (Fig. 13:9) made by manually paring the stone with a chisel were discovered above the floor. Bowls of this type are characteristic of the Jewish material culture during the Early Roman period. The foundation of another wall (W38) was unearthed north of the western room. It was built of one row of flat fieldstones arranged as headers and apparently belonged to another room in the building, which was otherwise completely destroyed.
Pottery from the first century CE, including bowls (Fig. 13:1), cooking pots (Fig 13:2, 3), jars (Fig. 13:4) and lamps (Fig. 13:7), was discovered in the water channel foundations, the building’s foundations and on its floors. Bronze coins were discovered in the foundation of W36 (L150). The latest of the coins (IAA 140998) was minted in Jerusalem by Agrippa I in 41–42 CE. A bronze coin (L131; IAA 142002) minted in Jerusalem by Tiberius in 15–30 CE was discovered on the bedrock floor in the western room, and a coin (IAA 142004) that was struck in Jerusalem in the first or second year of the Great Revolt was found in a heap of debris in the vicinity of the building.
Stratum III. A rectangular cell (L134; inner dimensions 0.8 × 0.9 m; Fig. 14) was unearthed in the southwestern area. Its walls (W26, W30, W32, W35) were haphazardly built of one or two rows of fieldstones and were preserved to a maximum height of two courses. The eastern wall (W26) was adjoined in the northwest by a wall (W22) built of one row of large fieldstones with small stones between them and was preserved to a height of two courses. A small square pillar (L122) set on the foundation of W17 was discovered northwest of the cell. It seems that the cell, W22 and the pillar were part of the same building complex. Within the foundations of the buildings belonging to this stratum (L123, L141, L144) and inside the cell (L127) were fragments of pottery vessels ascribed to the second–third centuries CE, including fragments of rilled-rim basins (Fig. 15:1).
Stratum II. A wall (W19) was discovered in terra-rossa soil in the southwestern area. Beneath it were many sherds from the Late Roman period and modern debris. A modern henhouse stands above the terra-rossa soil. Wall 19 was haphazardly built of one row of small and medium-sized fieldstones that were placed above a layer of gray earth containing many sherds and small fieldstones (L118, L119). Wall 19 was adjoined by another wall that was constructed of small fieldstones as a continuation of W21 from Stratum V. Both walls were abutted by stones surfaces (L112, L114, L117) that probably constituted part of a fill. Fragments of pottery and glass vessels from the Late Roman and Early Byzantine periods were discovered in the walls’ foundations (L125, L138) and on the stone surfaces (L113, L126). The ceramic assemblage mostly consists of serving ware and tableware, generally typical of assemblages of the Roman army in the Jerusalem area. The most common vessel is a shelf-rim basin (Fig. 15:2). Other finds include a fragment of a platter (Fig. 15:3), several sherds of rouletted bowls (Fig. 15:4, 5) and a table krater (Fig.15:6). The glass vessels are typical of the Late Roman period and include a bottle or jug with a trail wound below the rim (Fig. 9:2), a bottle or jug with a ridge below the rim (Fig. 9:3) and a small, solid base of a beaker (Fig. 9:4). A bronze handle (Fig. 16), probably that of a mirror, was discovered in Fill 118. A mirror with a similar handle was found in the Cave of the Letters, dating to the time of the Bar Kokhba revolt (Yadin 1971:157–158). Also discovered in this fill were two bronze Roman coins, the latest of which (IAA 142006) was minted in 383–395 CE. Another bronze Roman coin (IAA 142007) minted in 324–408 CE was found in the southern part of the area (L129).
Stratum I. A deep fill of small fieldstones and pottery sherds (L105; Fig. 17) retained by two narrow walls (W11, W12) was discovered in the southwestern area. The walls were constructed of one row of medium-sized fieldstones. Wall 11 was preserved to a height of ten courses (1.98 m). A pendant made out of a 1774 silver coin struck in in Constantinople during the reign of the Ottoman ruler Mustafa III (1757–1774 CE; Fig. 18) was found.
A fill of small fieldstones and potsherds (L104) and two poorly preserved walls (W10, W16) were discovered in the northeastern area; alluvium (L102) accumulated on the surface. Many sherds dating to Iron Age II, as well as the Hasmonean, Roman, Byzantine and Late Ottoman periods were found. It seems that the walls were used to retain agricultural terraces of the Beit Naqquba village, and that the fill was brought there from the ancient site.
The most important contribution of the excavation is the discovery of a site that was previously unknown to researchers. The antiquities discovered there include remains of a large building from the time of Herod (Stratum V), remains of a building and a covered water channel from the first century CE (Stratum IV), sections of walls from the Middle Roman period (Stratum III) and the Early Byzantine period (Stratum II) and remains of agricultural terraces belonging to the Arab village of Beit Naqquba (Stratum I). The architectural remains that were revealed extended beyond the limits of the excavation area. The finds from the two earliest strata suggest that the remains were part of a Jewish village from the Second Temple period. After 70 CE, a settlement was built on top of the Jewish village. It continued to exist during the Middle and Late Roman and Byzantine periods.