The Foyer(E; 3.5 × 4.5 m) connects the northern entrance with the northern Hall A. The room is covered with a barrel vault (Fig. 4). The dating of the room’s walls is difficult to determine; however, the two shops on either side of the foyer (F, G), which were not examined, could have been part of the building in the past.
Hall A (Fig. 4). The foyer opens into this hall, which is L-shaped. It includes a rectangular central space (A; 11 × 14 m), oriented east–west and two pillars (11, 12) bearing a cross vault (height c. 5 m), which were set along this axis. Later additions that thickened the walls (max. thickness 1 m) and were probably meant to strengthen them and support the ceiling could be discerned in the hall. Four niches (width 0.4 m, depth 0.3 m, height 0.5 m) were set in the western wall of the hall; three are located c. 1.7 m above the floor and the fourth one above them is next to the top of the arch; they may have been used to hold objects of some sort. A doorway (width 1.3 m) is set in the eastern wall and an arch is built above it. The southern part of the hall is narrow and connects to Hall B. This constriction is probably later and a rectangular space (?; H; not examined) adjacent to the hall’s eastern side, was part of it in the past.
Hall B. Three pillars (1, 2, 3), two of them engaged (1, 3; Fig. 5), were installed at the point where Halls A and B connect. The southern Hall B is almost square (c. 10 × 10 m) and its ceiling consists of cross vaults, borne atop two main pillars (2, 5) and seven pillars engaged in the walls of the hall (1, 3, 4, 6–9). The engaged pillars probably supported the vaults of rooms or halls that extended east of the hall (I), until Misgav Ladakh Street, and south of it (J); yet there is no possibility of checking this today.
Secondary construction is evident in the pillars, which are set at irregular intervals, and various additions to them were noted. Later building additions were also apparent elsewhere in Hall B. The southern and eastern walls were made thicker by stone construction that almost entirely blocked the original pillars alongside them (Figs. 6, 7). An arched cavity was installed in the eastern part of the southern wall and a pillar is visible on the inner eastern side of the cavity (9; see Fig. 6). Another pillar (10) was constructed in a later phase southeast of the main pillar (5); it bore an arch that extended eastward and connected to Pillar 13 (Fig. 8). Another arch was built between Pillars 1 and 2 (Fig. 9). These building additions were likely intended to reinforce the hall and support its ceiling. A four-sided asymmetric recess, which was probably set in the western part of the southern wall and was blocked with stones (see Fig. 7), served as a doorway that linked the hall with the rest of the building in the south and was sealed in a later phase.
Room C (presumed dimensions 3.5 × 3.5 m). The entrance to the room was fixed in the southwestern wall of Hall A (Fig. 9). The room was covered with a cross vault borne atop pillars that were built in its corners. The pillars and the walls of the room were made thicker with modern construction and partition walls were set inside the room; it is therefore impossible to reconstruct the room’s original plan and understand the relationship between this room and the two halls.
Room D. This long narrow room (2.9 × 10.0 m) is composed of two rooms connected to each other; the northern room is covered with a cross vault and the southern room is covered with a barrel vault. Along the western wall of the southern room is a later wall, which was probably built to support the ceiling on that side. A niche (width 1.1 m, depth 1.4 m, height 2.0 m) was built in the southern part of the wall. The unique plan of Room D and the barrel vault, which differs from the roofing manner in the rest of the building, as well as its level, which is higher than that of Halls A and B, indicate that this is a separate structure from the building of the halls and it was connected to the latter in a later phase.
The excavation (c. 15 sq m; Figs. 10, 11) was conducted after the floor of the building in the recess of the southeastern corner of Hall B was removed. Part of a room that was installed inside the recess was discovered. A wall (W1), aligned east–west across the entire width of the excavation square, was exposed. The wall, preserved to a minimum of two courses high, was built of two rows of medium-sized fieldstones with a core of earth and small stones; a doorway with two threshold stones (1.1 m; Fig. 12) was set in the wall. A round installation (L102; diam. 0.9 m, preserved height c. 0.7 m) was exposed in the corner formed by W1 and the eastern wall of Hall B. It was built of small and medium fieldstones, several of which had collapsed during the course of the excavation. Two yellowish white plaster floors (L1, L2; thickness c. 0.1 m), one 0.4 m above the other, abutted the installation and W1, and the southern and eastern walls of the recess. North of the room, a small section of a similar floor (L3), which was laid at an identical level as Floor 2 and abutted the northern side of W1, was exposed. Below the lower Floor 2 and the installation, a channel (L107; length 2.5 m width 0.20–0.25 m, depth 0.4 m) extended from west to east, sloping toward the east. It was built of small and medium fieldstones and was coated with gray plaster. It is difficult to determine if the channel continues below the eastern wall of Hall B. It is apparent that the channel was filled with stones and its sides in the eastern part were broken to facilitate the construction of the Installation 102 (Fig. 12). It therefore seems that the use of the channel was negated by the construction of the recess and the room inside it with Installation 102 that was set on its floor.
Mixed potsherds dating to different periods were found in the fill between the two floors (L104) and in the fill beneath Floor 2 (L105). These finds included a bowl from the Iron Age (Fig. 13:1); a bowl (Fig. 13:2) and a roof tile (Fig. 13:3) from the Early Roman period; bowls (Figs. 13:4–7; 14:1–12) and jugs (Fig. 14:13–15) from the Late Byzantine–beginning of the Early Islamic periods; bowls (Fig. 15:4, 9, 10); body sherds, probably of bowls, one of which is glazed on the inside and out (Fig. 15:12) and another that is glazed on the inside (Fig. 15:13); a cooking pot (Fig. 16:1), a jug (Fig. 16:4) and amphorae (Fig. 16:5, 6) from the Middle Ages, probably from the Mamluk period. Bowls (Fig. 15:1–3, 5–8, 11), a body sherd decorated with incising (Fig. 15:14), a cooking pot (Fig. 16:2) and a jar (Fig. 16:3), dating to the Mamluk period, were found in the fill of Installation 102 and while dismantling its walls. No datable finds were discovered in Channel 107.
Since the ceramic finds below Floor 2 and between the two floors are similar, it seems that they were built within a fairly short period of time. The latest finds in the assemblage indicate the time when the floor was installed and the room was built in the recess, that is, in the Mamluk period. This is also indicated by pottery from the Mamluk period (not drawn) and a glass bottle from this period that was used in the sugar industry (Fig. 17), and was discovered in the soil fill (L101) that covered the upper Floor 1.
Architectural evidence shows that the recess postdated the construction of Hall B; however, the date of the hall is unclear. Since Crusader building stones are incorporated in secondary use in its walls, it is clear that the hall is later than the Crusader period. Nevertheless, it is difficult to determine if it was built in the Ayyubid or Mamluk periods, during which repairs were made and the room in the recess was added.