Square 1. Three occupation levels were discovered.
The upper level (L100) was a tamped earth surface, overlain with artifacts from the Abbasid period mixed with modern material.
The intermediate and lower levels were white friable plaster floors (Loci 106, 109).
Square 2. Five occupation levels were revealed.
The upper level was a friable plaster floor mixed with chalk and a small amount of gravel (L101). A circular pit (L103; Fig. 3) that contained fragments of a large baggy-shaped jar was discovered in the southeastern corner of the square. It seems that the jar, probably used for storing water, was embedded in the pit so that its upper half protruded above Floor 101. Other fragments of pottery vessels in Pit 103 included a bowl (Fig. 6:10), a jug (Fig. 7:3) and a steatite vessel (Fig 7:10).
The second level was a thin plaster floor (L104), overlain with a pavement of dressed stones. Floor 104 probably served as bedding for the stone pavement, which mostly had been robbed.
The three bottom levels were plaster floors mixed with chalk (Loci 105, 107, 110).
The chronological differences between the levels seem negligible. They probably represent the raising of floors in a single building.
Square 3. Two occupation levels were exposed:
The upper level was a pale white plaster floor mixed with chalk (L102) and overlain with part of an arch-shaped installation built of small stones, whose nature is unclear (Fig. 4). A robber trench (RT1) of a wall was exposed in the southeastern part of the square; two of the wall’s ashlar stones had survived in situ. The thickness of the wall did not enable us to determine if this was an interior or an exterior wall of the building.
The lower level was a white plaster floor (L108), overlain with the top of an ashlar stone that had an elongated notch, whose purpose is unclear (Fig. 5). This stone was resting on a number of small stones and it was probably placed there, in secondary use, as a base of a column.
The ceramic finds above and below the plaster floors consisted mostly of household pottery vessels, including bowls (Fig. 6:1–9, 11–14), kraters (Fig. 6:15, 16), a jar (Fig. 7:1), jugs (Fig. 7:2, 4), colander jugs (Fig. 7:5, 6), a cup (Fig. 7:7) and a small bottle (Fig. 7:8), as well as a lamp fragment that was discovered on top of the bottom level in Square 1 (Fig. 7:9). Fragments of cone bars from a pottery kiln (Fig. 7:11–13) seem to suggest the presence of a workshop nearby. All the artifacts were dated to the Abbasid period—the second half of the eighth and the first half of the ninth centuries CE. Several fragments of glass vessels and small lumps of raw glass were discovered (see below).
The Glass Finds
Several fragments of glass vessels, including bottles, beakers and a jar, as well as small chunks of raw glass and some deformed vessels, were found at the site. The fragments were uncovered on plaster floors, attributed to the late eighth–early ninth centuries CE (Loci 101, 102, 105, 108 and 110) and they form a homogeneous assemblage of Early Islamic domestic ware.
Most of the vessels may be associated with the occupation levels. However, some fragments represent earlier types, which were produced in the country as early as the seventh–early eighth centuries CE and continued into later periods. These fragments, made of bluish green glass, include a beaker or bottle (Fig. 8:1) with a rounded rim and tapering walls and small bottles with a flaring infolded rim, a cylindrical neck and probably a globular body (Fig. 8:2, 4).
Other finds included a bluish green deformed bottle with a typical ridged neck (Fig. 8:3), a small colorless bottle with a cylindrical body and a flat base (Fig. 8:5), a colorless phial with a lentoid body (Fig. 8:6) and a colorless jar with a rounded rim, a short neck and a globular body (Fig. 8:7).
Noteworthy is a small body fragment that belongs to a luxury vessel, a beaker or a bottle, made of purple glass and decorated with incised dense parallel lines (Figs. 8:9; 9). Vessels with this style of decoration are usually dated to the eighth–tenth centuries CE, as is a colorless cylindrical beaker that bears a linear design incised above the base (Fig. 8:8).
The small chunks of raw glass in green, blue and purple and a few deformed glass vessels (L102, L105; Figs. 10–13) may point to glass production activities that were probably conducted at the site. It is tempting to connect this evidence with the remains of a domed installation uncovered in Square 3 and associated with ceramic production. Although not enough data to determine the actual function of the installation exists, the raw glass chunks and fragments of deformed glass vessels may imply that the installation was somehow associated with glass production.