Stratum IV (Byzantine period; sixth century CE). Three layered deposits were noted: a thin bottom deposit of sand and sea pebbles that contained a large quantity of burnt organic material (L18); a middle deposit of sand and sea pebbles that contained numerous potsherds (L17); and an upper deposit of clay that contained a few potsherds (L16) and became thicker toward the east because the topography dipped toward the Sea of Galilee when it was deposited (thickness in west 5–8 cm, thickness in east 0.20–0.25 m; Fig. 2). The potsherds in Deposit 17 were ascribed to the Byzantine period and included a Kefar Hananya, Type E1 bowl (Fig. 3:1) and a Late Roman C-type bowl (Fig. 3:2). Many of the potsherds were rather worn due to years of exposure to the action of waves. This would indicate that the water in the Sea of Galilee had reached this spot during the Byzantine period. The clay in Deposit 16 had probably stemmed from the sedimentation of material in a pond that had been created near the shore as a result of flooding or inundation of water from the Sea of Galilee.
Stratum III (Early Islamic period; eighth–ninth centuries CE). The clay in Deposit 16 was overlain with a layer of sand and sea pebbles (L14). The ceramic finds in this deposit included a glazed bowl (Fig. 3:3), cooking pots (Fig. 3:4) and jars (Fig. 3:5), dating to the Early Islamic period and the glass finds consisted of industrial waste (below). At some point during this period three sections of columns (average height c. 0.5 m) in secondary use were placed along a north–south axis. Their foundation pits were dug into the clay layer of Deposit 16 (elevation 209.95 m below sea level). The column parts, positioned at set intervals of c. 1.1 m, included a limestone drum, the bottom part of a gray granite monolithic column (Fig. 4) and a basalt drum. In light of their proximity to the shore of the Sea of Galilee, it can be assumed that they were installed in an anchorage. It also appears that the columns were no longer used during Stratum III because they were covered with a layer of sand and pebbles (L13) that contained potsherds dating to the ninth–tenth centuries CE (not drawn).
Stratum II (Crusader period; twelfth century CE). A thick layer of brown soil mixed with sand and pebbles (L11) accumulated on top of L13. A cluster of stones (L12), probably collapse, which was discovered in the southeastern part of the excavation area, was also attributed to this layer. The pottery from this stratum was ascribed to the Crusader period and included bowls (Fig. 3:6, 7), one of which is a brown-glazed bowl decorated with incising (Fig. 3:7), cooking pots (Fig. 3:8) and jars (Fig. 3:9). Raw glass waste was found in this stratum, indicating that glass vessels were produced nearby (below).
Stratum I (the Ottoman period and later; nineteenth–twentieth century CE). Remains of a building that had two construction phases were attributed to this layer. Two pillars, ascribed to the first phase, survived in the west (W3) and east (W15; see Fig. 1: Section 1-1). These were preserved a single course high and rested on foundations that extended as deep as c. 1.35 m into the sand and sea pebbles layers of Strata II and III (L11, L13 and L14). The southeastern corner of the foundation of Pillar 3 rested on the northern column drum of Stratum III, but its continuation penetrated deeper, to below the level of the top of the drum (elevation 209.72 m below sea level; Fig. 4). The building stone collapse (L10) in the western part of the excavation area should probably be also ascribed to this phase. The remains of two walls belonged to the second phase, in which Pillar 15 was negated. One wall extended northwest-southeast (W8) and was built above the foundations of Pillar 15; the second wall extended east–west (W5) and its western part was built above the collapse in L10. Three foundations courses of W5, built of neatly hewn stones, were preserved (depth c. 0.45 m; Fig. 5). This phase of the building had two floors, placed one atop the other, which abutted Walls 5 and 8 and Pillar 3 that was also used in this phase. The bottom floor consisted of medium-sized fieldstones (L7), between which Rashaya el-Fukhar potsherds dating to the nineteenth–twentieth centuries CE were found, as well as fragments of blue plaster. The upper floor was modern concrete (L4; see Fig. 1: Section 1-1; Fig. 6), poured at the beginning of the twentieth century CE.
Although the excavation area was limited, the finds aid in the reconstruction of Tiberias’ seashore throughout the ages. A lagoon or a pool of water, at whose bottom a layer of clay had accumulated, had apparently existed at the site in the Byzantine period. An anchorage that utilized column drums and parts of columns in secondary use, to which boats were tied, was established in the Early Islamic period. It seems that the anchorage went out of use during the same period and a layer of sea sand accumulated over its remains in the Crusader period. A crowded residential quarter that extended as far as the water line was built in the Ottoman period; other parts of this quarter had been exposed nearby (HA-ESI 119).
Ninety glass fragments were discovered in the excavation and about half could be identified. Most of the vessels represent well-known types that are common to the region and can be attributed to two periods: the end of the Byzantine–Umayyad and the Fatimid periods. Comparisons to most of the vessels are known from excavations in Tiberias and other sites (A. Lester 2004. Chapter 7: The Glass. In D. Stacey. Excavations at Tiberias, 1973–1974: The Early Islamic Periods [IAA Reports 21]. Jerusalem. Pp. 167–220).
The earlier assemblage, which dates to the Late Byzantine and Umayyad periods, includes two types of wine goblets: one has a hollow ring base and the other has a solid base with tooling marks; stems of two types of oil lamps: one is cylindrical and hollow and the other is solid and pinched at its end to a bead-shaped edge; and fragments of a bottle neck that is decorated with a wavy trail, which is typical of this period.
The assemblage from the Fatimid period mainly consists of coarse, locally produced vessels. These include a bottle of colorless glass, covered with a layer of hard black silvery weathering and decay, which is characterized by an upright neck that was cut unevenly and a very broad shoulder (Fig. 7:1); and a carelessly made bottle of poor quality colorless glass that is severely weathered, which has a coarse and partly flattened rim and extremely thick and uneven sides (Fig. 7:2).
Evidence of glass manufacture was found in the excavation. Various industrial waste was found in Strata II and III (Loci 11, 14), including a chunk of raw glass, furnace debris, and a fragment of a pale blue glass moil (Fig. 7:6), which is clearly the debris of glass blowing, representing the detachment of the neck of the vessel from the blowpipe. This waste indicates that a glass workshop operated nearby. These finds join very large quantities of industrial glass waste that had been recovered from different excavations in Tiberias, which point to a number of workshops that operated throughout the periods in various parts of the city.
Other vessels in the assemblage were carefully designed and the quality of their glass is much better. These include a bottle of greenish blue glass with beak-shaped spout/rim (Fig. 7:3); this vessel is quite characteristic of the Fatimid period and its rim is pinched at the end, forming a delicate funnel whose end is drop shaped; a small base fragment of pale blue and fine quality glass that belongs to a group of vessels with a cut decoration, which are very common to Tiberias and date mainly to the Fatimid period. The meticulously fashioned base is decorated with a deeply and evenly wheel-cut horizontal groove (Fig. 7:4). An unusual object, made of a bluish green tinged glass and covered with decay and silvery weathering, is shaped like a cone with a ball at its vertex (Fig. 7:5). This object was apparently prepared from the broken end of a beaded stem oil lamp: the upper part bears a scar from its original manufactured as a lamp, whereas filing on the broken end that was meant to be adapted for another use, possibly a game piece or a fishing weight, is discerned on its bottom part.