The earliest occupational remains were founded directly upon loose and sterile sands (Fig. 2; L152, L156, L157). These were reached in a limited deep probe in Sq A3 (Fig. 3) and consisted of several layers of anthropogenic debris. Although these layers contained pottery of the Chalcolithic and Neolithic periods, the latest datable remains were associated with the EB IB period.
The occupational layers of Stratum VII were separated from those of Stratum VI by c. 75 cm of debris. Remains of this stratum were also reached in Sq A2, consisting of part of a building or enclosure wall with stone foundations (W24/W33), a rounded corner and two entrances, one from the east and another one from the south (W35/W33; Fig. 4). Near the southern entrance, a rounded mud-brick installation of unclear function was partially exposed (L158; Fig. 5). The installation was found full of burnt mud bricks and ash. Beaten-earth floors (L142, L143/145) strewn with numerous restorable pottery vessels (Fig. 6) were identified within this building and outside it.
Limited remains of Stratum V were reached only in Sqs A/B2 and consisted of a building or enclosure wall of stone foundations (W23/W34) with a rounded corner (see Fig. 2). A relatively short period separated the Stratum V occupation from that of Stratum VI, as the Stratum V architecture was built directly upon that of Stratum VI (Fig. 7). A few beaten-earth surfaces were found within and outside this structure (L135, L147, L148).
Remains of this stratum were exposed in all the excavated squares and included the partial remains of several buildings, all of which were built exclusively of mud bricks with no stone foundations (Fig. 8). Nearly all the Stratum IV architectural elements shared the same orientation, suggesting that the settlement was built according to a preconceived plan. A round mud-brick platform (L141) was revealed in Sq A2; next to it was a large store jar in an upright position, sunken into the floor (Fig. 9). The partial remains of three structures (Buildings 1, 2 and 3) were identified around these features, which appear to have been in an open area. Within this open area, several surfaces were found one atop the other (L128/L134). At least one of the structures (Building 1) had a rounded corner and appears to have been built directly upon the remains of an earlier building from Stratum V (see Fig. 2) that was dismantled, partially reusing the stone walls of the latter for its foundations (Fig. 10). The partial remains of several mud-brick walls (W17–W19, and W36) in Sqs C2/3 may indicate the northern edge of a large enclosure. The remains of a very large structure (Building 3) of unclear plan and with one rounded corner were identified in Sq B3 (Fig. 11). Some of the walls of Building 3 were at least 1.5 m thick.
Remains of this stratum were also defined in all the excavated squares (Fig. 12). The Stratum III builders created a new plan, yet were aware of the Stratum IV constructions. In some instances, Stratum III architecture used the Stratum IV walls as a sturdy foundation (Fig. 13), and in other cases the Stratum IV walls were shaved away to make room for the Stratum III structures. The Stratum III walls were constructed of mud bricks, which sometimes were revealed upon a partial stone foundation (Figs. 14, 15), yet more often, no stone foundation was used.
During Stratum III, a large multi-roomed building was appended onto part of the massive Stratum IV architecture of Building 3. Within the excavated area, two rooms (1, 2) were defined, yet the building appears to have continued beyond the excavated area to the west, north and east. An upright store jar, sunken into the floor (L115; Fig. 16), was revealed in Room 1 and two successive floors (L114, L133) were identified in Room 2.
The Masarwa excavations (HA-ESI 123
) in the northern portion of the excavated area uncovered a large area paved with fieldstones, which included several large flat stones that may have functioned as pillar bases. Room 1 of the large Stratum III building (see Fig. 12) opens out in a wide entrance to this open area.
A pottery kiln was revealed in Sq C3. This installation included an air flue to its north, leading into a firing chamber, constructed from mud bricks (Fig. 17). Several openings in the roof of the firing chamber (Fig. 18) allowed the hot air to pass into an upper story that was not preserved, where the unfired vessels were once positioned. No supporting pillar was found in the lower chamber for holding up its ceiling. However, as no definite ceramic waste remains were found within this installation or its immediate vicinity, it may also be interpreted as an oven and not a pottery kiln.
Remains of this stratum were identified only in the southwestern portion of the excavated area and consisted of a beaten-earth surface (Fig. 12; Sq C2; L106) and mud-brick walls of unclear plan (W3–W5) with no stone foundations. The Stratum II occupation was apparently founded after that of Stratum III had been abandoned.
The uppermost stratified remains consist of a row of large to medium-sized fieldstones (W1) uncovered at the eastern end of Sqs B/C (Fig. 12). Although these were not clearly associated with any datable occupational remains, they appear to have been the foundations of a large building that existed in this area and was demolished prior to the excavation. No surfaces were found associated with this wall.
While nearly all previous excavations at the EB settlement at Lod were determined to be at the edge of the EB occupation, the present excavation is the first to probe the stratigraphy in what is assumed to be the central portion of the site, producing a complete stratigraphic profile of the EB occupation. The EB remains from Strata VII–II indicate an intensive settlement in this area, which included large-scale building projects in Strata IV and III, implying a preconceived settlement plan. The finding of a two-level pottery kiln or oven from the EB II period is so far paralleled only at Tell el-Far‘a (N), where a similar installation was excavated (de Vaux 1955: Figs. 9, 10, Pl. 9), although it included a supporting pillar in its lower chamber.