The excavation area was opened along an east–west road paved by the British in the early twentieth century, climbing up the Carmel hillside. Apparently, when the area was being leveled for the road, building remains in the region were dismantled and were used in the construction of the roadbed. Seven squares were excavated along the road, yielding four complexes (Fig. 2).
First Complex (Sqs B7–B10; Figs. 3, 4). Remains of a building were partly excavated. Its walls were constructed of ashlars; its floors, however, did not survive. The structure was erected on the bedrock, thus keeping with the topographical dip, causing its eastern part to be higher than its western part. A wall (W10; length 10 m), built along an east–west axis, survived up to three courses high; a threshold preserved in its eastern part might have led from a courtyard into the house. A courtyard was exposed south of W10. It is possible that W16 and W17, which adjoined W10, may have served to support the courtyard’s roof. Wall remains were exposed on the eastern side of the building: a wall (W18) aligned along an east–west axis and a nearby wall (W19) aligned along a north–south axis. The corner formed by these walls did not survive.
Another room, delimited by W14 and W16, was exposed in the west of the building. Limestone steps that ascended eastward (L137; Fig. 5) were exposed in the west of the complex. A fieldstone foundation (L146), perhaps a floor that did not survive, was revealed between W16 and the steps.
The ceramic finds discovered in the complex included a cooking pot rim (Fig. 6:1) from the first–second centuries CE (Adan-Bayewitz 1993:126–127, Form 4b); a cooking pot (Fig. 6:4) from the fourth–sixth centuries CE (Johnson 1988:192, Fig. 7-37; Ben-Arieh 1997:351, Pl. III:22–23); a Galilean jar (Fig. 6:8) from the fifth–sixth centuries CE (Loffreda 1974:43–44, Fig. 8; Magness 1992:135–137, Fig. 58:23); and a jar stopper (Fig. 6:10) from the fifth–seventh centuries CE (Peleg and Reich 1992:154, Fig. 13:2).
Second Complex (Sq B12). An unstable wall (W12) represents the remains of another, poorly preserved building. Pottery sherds found in a fill alongside the wall included a cooking pot rim (Fig. 6:3) from the fifth–seventh centuries CE (Calderon 2000:138, Pl. XXII:40–42, Fig. 33) and a Galilean jar (Fig. 6:7) from the fifth–sixth centuries CE (Loffreda 1974:43–44, Fig. 8).
Third Complex (Sqs B3, B4; Fig. 7). Two strata were exposed. The upper one comprises the remains of a building: an inner, southwest–northeast wall (W13; length c. 4 m), standing one course high and constructed of ashlars. It seems that the wall was built over the collecting vat of the earlier strata (below). A frying-pan handle dating to the sixth–eight centuries CE (Fig. 6:5) was found in the fill next to the wall.
A square collecting vat (L132; Fig. 8) of a winepress was uncovered in the earlier stratum; it was treated with hydraulic plaster (thickness 2 cm). Four plastered steps in its corner led down to the floor, which was inlaid with industrial tesserae. Pottery sherds found in the fill (L133) within the vat included a krater (Fig. 9:1), a casserole (Fig. 9:2) and a krater lid (Fig. 9:3)—all dating to the sixth–seventh centuries CE; short-neck cooking pots (Fig. 9:4, 5) and gutter-rim cooking pots (Fig. 9:6, 7) dating to the fifth–seventh centuries CE (Gendelman 2012: Fig. 3:10; Calderon 2000:138, Pl. XXII:38); a flat-rim cooking pot (Fig. 9:8; Johnson 1988: Fig. 7-38:569, 571) dating to the fourth–fifth centuries CE; a bottle (Fig. 9:9) dating to the fourth–fifth centuries CE; bag-shaped jars (Fig. 9:10–13); and Galilean jars (Fig. 9:14, 15) dating to the sixth–seventh centuries CE (Riley 1975:26–28, Nos. 1, 2, 4; Gendelman 2012: Fig. 4:3–6; Calderon 2000: Pl. XXIII:16–18, Figs. 19–21; Oren-Paskal 2006:132, Fig. 116:42); an imported plate decorated with a stamped impression (Fig. 10; Hayes 1972: Fig. 30:15, 52:k); decorated Samaritan lamps (Fig. 11; Sussman 1983: Figs. 7, 8); and an amphora (Fig. 12; Calderon 2000: Pl. XX). Additional finds were fragments of glass vessels (see Appendix), an iron pruning knife that was apparently used for harvesting grapes (Fig. 13:1), iron nails (Fig. 13:2), a bone item decorated with incisions painted in pink, black and white, probably used as a handle for a knife or a mirror (Fig. 14) and animal bones. It seems that after the collecting vat was no longer used, it became a refuse pit.
Fourth Complex (Sq B2). A northern corner of a square collecting vat belonging to a complex wine press (L103; Fig. 15) was excavated; it was paved with tesserae. The vat was enclosed by two walls (W11, W15): W11 built of one course of well-preserved fieldstones (exposed length c. 4 m) and W15, which was not as well preserved. Work surfaces (width c. 1 m) abutted the walls and surrounded the edge of the collecting vat. They were paved with a white industrial mosaic set on a bedding of white mortar and rubble (debesh). A curved, three-step staircase was constructed in the corner of the collecting vat. The walls and floor of the vat were treated with hydraulic plaster. Pottery sherds found in the accumulation inside the collecting vat included a bowl from the fifth–eighth centuries CE (Fig. 6:2); a jar from the fifth–sixth centuries CE (Fig. 6:6; Riley 1975:26–27, 29, No. 6); and a stopper from the sixth–seventh centuries CE (Fig. 6:9; Calderon 2010: Fig. 8:81).
The excavation yielded settlement remains from the Byzantine period and the beginning of the Early Islamic period (second half of the seventh century CE). The ceramic finds indicate that already in the Late Roman period a settlement existed at the site. The winepress remains, the rich variety of glass vessels and the ceramic assemblages imply an affluent population that was engaged in commerce and wine production. This is the first excavation at the site and it adds another tier to our knowledge about the Byzantine settlement sequence on Mount Carmel.