Square A1. Below the surface layer were concentrations of stones that marked other tombs; some were disturbed in antiquity and some remained complete. The most intact tomb (L1005; 0.9 × 2.5 m; Fig. 3), oriented east–west, was covered with several stone slabs (length 0.4–0.8 m, width 0.2 m) and other small stones.
Square A2. Below the surface layer, five tombs, whose outline could be reconstructed, were found
1. Cist tomb (L1003; 0.8 × 1.7 m) without covering slabs, aligned northwest-southeast.
2. Cist tomb (L1006; 0.8 × 1.0 m), covered, aligned north–south.
3. Small cist tomb (L1009; 0.30 × 0.55 m), aligned east–west. The tomb contained a skull with a small stone placed on top of it, several rib bones and a single leg bone.
4. Cist tomb (L1001; 0.5 × 1.0 m), aligned east–west; it contained poorly preserved skeletal remains and a skull of a young individual.
5. Cist tomb (L1015; 0.5 × 1.5 m), aligned east–west, covered with six coarsely dressed rectangular stones.
Apart from these tombs, remains of other graves that were mostly disturbed and their shape could not be reconstructed, e.g., an east–west aligned row of stones (L1016), were discovered.
Below the surface layer, six graves were discovered:
1. Cist tomb (L1004; 0.5 × 2.0 m), aligned east–west and covered with a row of fieldstones.
2. Cist tomb (L1007; 0.5 × 2.7 m; Fig. 4), aligned east–west and covered with dressed rectangular stone slabs, placed next to each other.
3. Cist tomb (L1008; 0.5 × 1.4 m), aligned east–west and covered with small stones.
4. Cist tomb (L1014; 0.5 × 2.1 m), aligned east–west and covered with nine modern cinderblocks.
5. Cist tomb (L1017; 0.5 × 0.9 m; Fig. 5), aligned east–west and covered unevenly with four large stones.
6. Tomb (L1018; 0.5 × 1.0 m), only part of which was exposed next to the southern corner of the square; it appears to be an irregular-shaped stone heap, oriented east–west.
The ceramic assemblage at the site is characteristic of the end of the Byzantine and beginning of the Early Islamic periods (seventh–eighth centuries CE). The assemblage consisted of bowls (Fig. 6), cooking pots, jars and jugs (Fig. 7) and stoppers (Fig. 8).
The bowls included a rim fragment of well-levigated light brown clay, decorated with black paint (Fig. 6:1; ‘Atiqot 30:67–78); two bases of cup-bowls, made of light colored clay (Fig. 6:2, 3); a bowl with a round inverted rim of pinkish brown clay (Fig. 6:4) that is dated to the beginning of the Islamic period (Tushingham A .D. 1985. Excavations in the Armenian Garden on the Western Hill. In Tushingham A.D. Excavations in Jerusalem 1961-1967 I. Toronto. Pp. 2–155, Fig 35:2, 4); a Late Roman C type bowl (Fig. 6:5) that is dated to the sixth–seventh centuries CE (Hayes J.W. 1972. Late Roman Pottery. London. Pp. 329–338, Form 3, Fig. 68); bowls (Fig. 6:6–9) and a bowl base (Fig. 6:10) made of similar clay and prevalent from the mid-seventh to the mid-eighth centuries CE (Magness J. 1993. Jerusalem Ceramic Chronology: Circa 200–800 C.E. Sheffield. P. 201; Tushingham 1985: Fig 34:30).
The cooking pots included two fragments of dark brown clay (Fig. 7:1, 2) and a cooking pot lid (Fig. 7:3), the likes of which were discovered in numerous sites from the Early Islamic period (‘Atiqot 30: Fig. 9:9).
The jugs included a fragment with a triangular rim and gentle ribbing at the base of the neck, made of reddish brown clay with a gray core (Fig. 7:4) and a jug with an elongated ridge on the rim and ribbing on the neck, made of orange-brown clay (Fig. 7:5).
The jars included three baggy-shaped jars: one with a high neck and a notch at the base of the rim (Fig. 7:6) that has comparisons in the Byzantine period and the beginning of the Islamic period (Nevo Y. 1991. Pagans and Herders. A Re-examination of the Negev Runoff Cultivation Systems in the Byzantine and Early Arab Periods. Jerusalem. Pl. 5:1–3); the second with a thickened rim, made of orange clay (Fig. 7:7) from this period (Magness 1993:231, Form 7:1); and the third has a wavy decoration on the rim (Fig. 7:8). Other finds were three potsherds, filed round, which were probably used as stoppers (Fig. 8).
The excavation was carried out in an area that functioned as a burial field from the Chalcolithic period until the modern era, and was used by the residents of the settlement, which extended across the hills to the northwest (‘Atiqot 38:1–49). Another part of the necropolis was exposed in adjacent excavations (HA-ESI 109:65*). Fragments of pottery vessels, several fragments of glass vessels and a few flint artifacts from the soil fill of the tombs and the areas between them were recovered from the excavation. The fact that not one of the vessels was complete and could not be restored probably indicates that the burial field was dug into ancient settlement strata, or close to them. Most of the discovered pottery was from the end of the Byzantine and the beginning of the Islamic periods; hence, the tombs are later than this date.
Based on the modern blocks that covered Tomb 1014, interments continued here until the modern era. Most of the tombs were aligned east–west and dated from the beginning of the Early Islamic period until the modern era; therefore, it can reasonably be assumed that these are Muslim graves. The multitude of tombs and their extreme density seem to stem from the proximity to the Imam Ali mosque, which was built in the twelfth century CE according to historical sources, and probably also from the existence of an important grave in the vicinity that increased the desire of the population to be interred in this region.