Area A (Figs. 1, 2)
Five excavation squares were opened. An aqueduct and rooms (Loci 6, 7, 8, 10) that probably belonged to a single structure, used for dwelling or industry, were discovered. The walls of the rooms (W1–5, W9, W10; height 0.2–0.4 m, width c. 0.7 m) were built of roughly hewn kurkar and soft limestone blocks. A floor segment in the northwestern corner of Room 6 abutted W1 and W2. The floor was composed of small limestone pieces and irregular kurkar slabs. Ash from a hearth or a tabun was in the southern part of the room, at the elevation of the floor level. The small stone bedding of a floor was exposed in Room 10. Room 7 was narrow (width 1.2 m) and probably served as a corridor. The bedding of a floor was exposed in its southwestern corner, where it abutted W2. Wall 10 survived by its foundation trench that contained a fill of small stones. A small section of a coarse white mosaic floor (L3), probably industrial, was discovered c. 1 m east of Room 8.
A section of an aqueduct (length 3.8 m; L19; Fig. 3), built of limestone and kurkar, was revealed to the southwest of the rooms. The aqueduct was built inside a channel (width c. 0.8 m, wall thickness 0.26 m) dug into the hamra––virgin soil and coated with a single layer of grayish white plaster.
Activities in the area over the past decades resulted in the poor preservation of the architectural remains and the disturbed find contexts. The ceramic finds from the floor levels included fragments of pottery vessels from the Byzantine period: Bowls (Fig. 4:1, 2), cooking vessels (Fig. 4:3–7) and jars (Fig. 4:8–13), three of which were Gaza jars (Fig. 4:11–13), and vessels of pinkish-white clay from the Early Islamic period: Bowls (Fig. 5:1, 2), a jar (Fig. 5:3) and jugs (Fig. 5:4–6). Two flint pestles (Fig. 6:1, 2) and the nether stone of a hand-operated basalt millstone (Fig. 6:3) were found, as well as four coins, two were illegible and two were surface finds. One coin (IAA No. 91513) is Late Roman (fourth–fifth centuries CE) and the other (IAA No. 91514) is Seleucid.
Area B (Fig. 7)
This area is located 25 m east of Area A, on the northern slope of the railway embankment. One square (3 5 m) was opened, revealing the corner of a building (L17), whose walls (W11, W12; width 0.55 m) consisted of an exterior face of large limestone blocks and an interior face of small lime stones. Fragments of pottery vessels from the Early Islamic period were discovered on the floor of the room, including bowls (Fig. 8:1, 2) and the base of a white jug (Fig. 8:3).
Another section of the aqueduct (length 1.5 m, width 0.6 m, depth 0.35 m; L21), built of small lime stones, was exposed 1 m east of W12. Remains of grayish-white plaster were discerned on the walls of the channel (width 0.3 m) and the exterior wall of the aqueduct.
Area C (Fig. 9)
One square (3.0 × 3.6 m) was opened 15 m east of Area B. The corner of a building (L4), whose walls (W6, W7; width 0.65 m, preserved height 0.2 m) were built of two rows of medium-sized lime stones with a core of small stones, was discovered. A beaten-earth floor abutted W6 on the south and a limestone-paved floor abutted W7 on the west. All the potsherds recovered from the floors and from the accumulations above them were dated to the Byzantine period and included cooking pots (Fig. 10:1, 2), lids (Fig. 10:3, 4) and a Gaza jar (Fig. 10:5).
The Glass Vessels
Approximately 112 fragments of glass vessels and industrial waste were discovered. More than half were body fragments that could not be identified. Most of the finds related to the glass industry and included furnace debris, fragments of furnace walls covered with a glass layer, debris from the bottom of the furnaces, glass pendants in various shapes that cooled during the course of work and also glass blowing debris, mainly moils––fragments of glass originally located at the connection of the blow pipe and the vessel. The glass vessels found together with the industrial debris were dated to the Byzantine period, mainly to its end (end of the sixth–beginning of the seventh century CE). They included wine goblets, whose rims were decorated with blue glass trails, various types of bottles and bowls with a broad rim crudely folded out.
A single basket (L4, Area C) contained glass fragments that dated to different periods: two vessel fragments were from the end of the Late Roman period and the beginning of the Byzantine period and two others––from the Early Islamic period. The finds in the rest of the baskets were homogenous.
The glass finds from this excavation, adding to the information from the previous excavation (Y. Elisha, Permit No. A-2874, forthcoming), indicate a rather large-scale glass industry that existed t the site, at least during the Late Byzantine period.