Area A (Fig. 2)
Stratum III (Abbasid period). Remains of two perpendicular walls (W118, W119) forming a corner were discovered. They were built of limestone ashlars set on bedrock, and were preserved to a height of one course. The inner faces of the walls were exposed and abutted a bedrock floor. A layer of soil (L121) containing pottery sherds from the Mamluk and Ottoman periods was exposed above the bedrock floor. It was difficult to date the construction of the walls; however, dwellings dated to the Abbasid period which were also built on bedrock were previously discovered nearby (Hanna 2010). Thus, it seems that the walls were part of an Abbasid-period structure, which was largely dismantled during the Mamluk period.
Stratum II (Mamluk period). Two refuse pits (1, 2) were discovered. Pit 1 (diam. 1.2 m, depth c. 2 m) was filled with layers of gray and brown soil and ash (L115, L121) mixed with fragments of pottery vessels from the Mamluk and Ottoman periods, which included glazed bowls, Rashaya el-Fukhar vessels, and a clay tobacco pipe from the nineteenth century CE. The pit was evidently dug during the Mamluk period and sealed in the Ottoman period, when a paved courtyard belonging to a dwelling was built there (Stratum I). Pit 2 was filled with layers of gray soil and ash (L117, L122) mixed with pottery sherds from the Crusader, Mamluk and Ottoman periods, including Ottoman-period glazed bowls and a clay tobacco pipe from the late eighteenth century CE. A concentration of stones, possibly the remains of a Mamluk-period wall, was discovered just east of Pit 2.
Stratum I (Ottoman Period). Remains of a dwelling consisting of two rooms (1, 2) separated by a stone-paved courtyard were exposed. The building was founded on the habitation level from the Mamluk period, whose architectural remains were dismantled. Some of its stones were reused in the construction of the Ottoman building’s walls. The structure was built of limestone ashlars. Segments of three walls (W105–W107) and a central pillar (W113) were exposed in Room 1 (width 4.8 m). The floor of the room was made of small fieldstones and crushed chalk. A circular installation built of small fieldstones was discovered near the eastern side of Pillar 113. The installation might have been intended for standing jars. An accumulation of gray soil (L101, L109) exposed above the room’s floor included pottery sherds from the Mamluk and Ottoman periods, including an almost complete clay tobacco pipe dating to the late nineteenth century CE. The bowl of the pipe is lily-shaped and decorated with linear geometric patterns, circles and petals (Fig. 3:1). The southeastern corner of Room 2 (W103, W104) was exposed. The floor of the room was made of small fieldstones and crushed chalk. An installation built of one row of limestone and bounded on the west by a wall (W102) was discovered in the corner of the room. The floor of the installation was made of plaster. An accumulation of gray soil (L100) exposed above the floor and the installation contained fragments of pottery vessels from the Mamluk and Ottoman periods, including two clay tobacco-pipe stands dating to the late nineteenth century CE. The courtyard between the rooms was delimited on the north by a wall (W111) built of limestone. Wall 111, which curved and adjoined W104 in the west, continued beyond the excavation limits in the north.
The courtyard’s floor was made of limestone ashlars, mostly in secondary use. Seven rows of stones arranged parallel to W104 and W107 were preserved. The southern part of the courtyard’s floor was built above Pit 1 (Stratum II). An accumulation of light gray soil (L112) that was mixed with sherds from the Ottoman and Mamluk periods was revealed above the floor. The floor was founded on soil fill (L114) containing fragments of Rashaya el-Fukhar vessels and part of a lid belonging to a unique cooking pot (Çanakkale Ware) imported from Turkey. The potsherd is slipped brown on the outside, glazed white and decorated with a dark brown geometric pattern (Fig. 3:2). The pottery industry began in Çanakkale in the late seventeenth century CE, and based of the ceramic assemblage the cooking pot lid should be dated to the latter part of the nineteenth century CE (Vroom 2005:181–183).
Stratum III (Abbasid period; Fig. 4). A round lime kiln (diam. c. 2 m, depth 2.2 m; Figs. 5, 6) was discovered in the center of the excavation area. The northern side of the kiln was hewn in limestone bedrock while the rest of the installation was delimited by walls (W420, W423, W428) built of nari fieldstones. The floor of the kiln consisted of a layer of white plaster; burnt remains were discovered on it. The floor was founded on gray soil fill and debris (L438) that reached the bedrock. A gray soil fill, mixed with ash and nari (L435), covered the floor. The kiln was discovered filled with brown soil and ash (L425). Fragments of pottery vessels from the Abbasid and Fatimid periods were discovered below the installation’s floor and in the layers of fill. These included a bowl with a plain round rim and a low ring base decorated with a thin slip and a monochrome mustard-yellow colored glaze (Fig. 7:1) that dates to the second half of the eighth century CE, and two Khirbat Mafjar jugs (Fig. 7:2, 3) made of light buff-colored clay. Both jugs have a ring base and are adorned with lines, incisions and plastic decorations; both date to the second half of the eighth century CE as well.
Stratum II (Mamluk period; Figs. 4, 8). The remains of five rectangular rooms (1–5) comprising a dwelling were discovered. The rooms were not entirely exposed because parts of them were situated beyond the excavation boundaries. The building was founded partially on a layer of gray soil and small fieldstones and partially on bedrock. The walls were built of nari ashlars, and the floors were made of soil and tamped, crushed chalk (Fig. 9). The settlement stratum from the Ottoman period penetrated the Mamluk-period building.
A nari-built work surface was discovered in Room 1. An accumulation of gray soil (L431) overlying the surface contained pottery sherds from the Mamluk period. A fragment of a limestone cornice was incorporated in secondary use in the room’s east wall (W406; Fig. 10). In the southeastern corner of the room was a circular cooking installation filled with ash (Fig. 11). Mamluk-period pottery fragments were discovered in the floor bedding and above the floor, including two glazed bowls: one from Italy (Fig. 12:1), the other, with a ridge on the shoulder and a plain rounded rim, which was treated with a dark brown glaze on the inside that covered the rim as well, which dates to the thirteenth–fifteenth centuries CE.
Additional Mamluk-period pottery fragments were discovered in the foundation of the southern wall (W412) in Room 2. An accumulation of gray soil and nari (L413) found above the floor of the room included an assortment of ceramic artifacts, such as fragments of a red-painted jug from the Umayyad period, a glazed bowl from the Abbasid period, glazed bowls from the Mamluk period and hand-made Gaza jars from the Ottoman period.
The eastern part of Room 3 was constructed above the lime kiln of Stratum III (Fig. 13). Next to the room’s southern wall was a bench (W442) built of nari blocks set on the bedrock. Pottery sherds from the Abbasid and Mamluk periods were discovered in the floor bedding (L439). Above the floor were fragments of pottery vessels from the Abbasid and Mamluk periods, including a bowl with a plain everted rim, treated with a matte yellow glaze decorated with green lines and brown and orange dots (Fig. 12: 2) that dates to the ninth–tenth centuries CE, and the neck of a jug (Fig. 12:3) glazed on the outside and decorated with a green and black linear pattern, dating to the Early Mamluk period.
An opening (width 0.8 m) was installed in the wall connecting Room 3 with Room 4 (W408; Fig. 14). Fragments of pottery vessels from the Abbasid and Mamluk periods were discovered in the floor bedding of Room 4, including a pentagonal clay lamp (Fig. 12:4) that has a tongue handle and is decorated with a reticulated pattern, which dates to the eighth and ninth centuries CE. An accumulation of gray soil (L430) mixed with pottery sherds from the Mamluk period was discovered above the floor in Room 4. Also discovered above the floor was a square mortar made of nari.
Room 5 was a long narrow room. Pottery sherds from the Abbasid and Mamluk periods were found in the floor bedding. An accumulation of gray soil (L421) found above the floor included sherds from the Abbasid and Mamluk periods.
Stratum I (Ottoman period; Fig. 15). Installations and floors were discovered on the remains of the floors and walls inside the rooms of the Mamluk building. These were built of stones that had been dismantled from the walls of the building (Fig 16). In the north of the area were two tabuns (L402, L403; diam. 0.75 m; Fig. 17) made of burnt clay and equipped with a molded upper opening characterized by a curved and thickened rim. Small sherds and fragments of the upper part of the tabuns were discovered inside these installations (Fig. 18). A cooking installation (L426) that had a floor made of crushed chalk was discovered in Room 1 (Fig. 19). A layer of ash (L410) containing sherds from the Mamluk and Ottoman periods was exposed above the floor of the installation. Stone floors (L401, L417) were discovered in Rooms 3 and 4.
Ceramic artifacts dating mainly to the Mamluk and Ottoman periods and a small amount of sherds ascribed to the Abbasid and Crusader periods were discovered in the stratum. These finds include a bowl with a plain, round rim, slipped white on the inside, glazed yellow and decorated light green, dating to the late twelfth and thirteenth centuries CE (Fig. 20:1); a bowl with a ledge rim, round body and carinated shoulder, slipped dark brown and also glazed green on the rim dating to the second half of the twelfth century and the thirteenth century CE (Fig. 20:2); and a spherical cooking pot without a neck that has an everted rim, which dates to the thirteenth century CE (Fig. 20:3).
Three settlement strata, dating to the Abbasid, Mamluk and Ottoman periods, were revealed in the excavation. A lime kiln and meager remains of a building that are ascribed to the Abbasid period were discovered. Remains of dwellings from the Abbasid period were previously exposed north of the current excavation. These finds indicate a significant presence during this period that includes both industry and dwellings. A building was constructed there in the Mamluk period that was probably part of a residential quarter. In the Early Ottoman period the Mamluk building was dismantled and a dwelling that included courtyards and installations was constructed on its remains in the early eighteenth century CE.