Stratum II, Early Roman Period (late first–early second centuries CE)
Area A. Remains of a building comprising five architectural units (1–5; Figs. 2, 3) were exposed.
Unit 1 (2.05×4.10 m) was delineated by walls in the south (W11; length 4.1 m, width 0.7 m) bonded with a wall in the east (W4; exposed length 3.9 m, width 0.7 m) and adjoining a wall in the west (W9; exposed length 7.95 m, width 0.6–0.7 m). Remains of a tabun (L26; diam. 1.05 m, height 0.07 m) were discovered in the southeastern corner beneath collapse of limestone pebbles that fell from the adjacent walls. The tabun, founded on natural soil, was lined with travertine sand around it. The interior of the tabun, which was not completely excavated, was filled with the collapse of the destroyed installation, stones and fragments of pottery vessels that overlaid a layer of ash (Figs. 4, 5). Near the western corner of the unit were remains of a wall (W29; exposed length 0.8 m, width 0.55 m) that was probably perpendicular to W9 and built of small basalt fieldstones. The wall, preserved a single course high, was founded on travertine soil devoid of finds; it was most likely added in a later phase. Beneath the collapse, north and west of the tabun, small basalt fieldstones were discovered, including stones coated with gray hydraulic plaster that might have originated in a water channel or installation from the Byzantine period.
Unit 2 (3.55×4.10 m) was a rectangular room, exposed almost in its entirety and delimited by Wall 24 in the east, W9 in the west, Wall 11 in the north and Wall 7 (exposed length 2.35 m, width 0.6 m) in the south. The floor of the unit consisted of tamped gray earth and potsherds (L10). A tabun (L28; outer diam. 1.05 m; Fig. 6), embedded in the floor and lined with light brown clay, was located in the northwestern corner of the room. Small fieldstones arranged in a horseshoe shape that opened to the east were exposed tangential to the exterior of the tabun. These might have been connected to some sort of work that utilized a bellows. The tabun contained collapsed stones and tabun clay above a layer of ash, but its excavation was not completed.
Unit 3 (1.9×2.4 m) was a northwestern corner formed by two perpendicular walls: W9 in the west and W7 in the north. It can be seen in the eastern section that the unit was paved with a thin layer of light gray pounded chalk (L21), deposited on fill (L25).
Unit 4 (3.00×4.75 m) was delimited in the east by W9 and a wall in the south (W13, exposed length 3 m). The eastern half of W13 was built of small limestone fieldstones (width 0.65 m) and the stones in its wider western half (0.8 m) were larger and mostly basalt. The floor of the unit was gray tamped soil that abutted the walls and contained potsherds (L16). On the wide part of W13 was a relatively long, flat basalt fieldstone in a collapse. The stone, which might have been a threshold and the differences in the construction of W13 suggest the presence of an opening that led into Unit 5.
Unit 5 (1.7×2.7 m) was bounded by W13 in the north and W9 in the east. A tamped layer of fill that comprised gray travertine soil, several fieldstones and ash was exposed. A level of small flat basalt fieldstones, arranged in a row (L15; length 0.75 m, exposed width 0.15 m) and founded on travertine soil, was exposed at the southern end below the fill. The stone level continued in the southern section and next to it was tamped gray soil containing ash and potsherds (L20). The level might have been part of this unit’s floor, part of a foundation of an installation or a dismantled wall.
Walls 4, 7 and 11 were built of small fieldstones of nari and hard limestone (preserved height 0.3–0.4 m), yet W9, built of small and medium basalt fieldstones, was preserved a single course high. This massive wall, shared by all of the units, was probably meant to reinforce and support the units’ structures. The walls in the eastern balk of Area A were mainly founded on a travertine deposit.
Area B. A wall (W5; length 3.3 m, width 0.6 m, height 0.44 m; Figs. 2, 7) built of small and medium limestone and basalt fieldstones was partially exposed; it was preserved a single course high. The southwestern edge of the wall was straight and it might have been the eastern doorjamb of a wide opening that continued to the south. The wall was built inside a clean layer of travertine deposits and above it was a very thin layer of gray tamped soil and potsherds that abutted the wall. A layer of fill (L22; thickness 0.2 m) that abutted the wall from the south (along the eastern 2.3 m) was revealed. The fill, consisting of gray soil, soot and numerous potsherds, was founded on travertine. It seems that the fill was connected to a penetration that postdated the construction of the wall.
The ceramic finds recovered from Stratum II in Unit 1 consisted also of early potsherds dating to the Hellenistic period (Guz-Zilberstein 1995), including a jar (Fig. 8:1) and a Megarian bowl (Fig. 8:2). Most of the finds in the rest of the area were of local production or from Kefar Hananya (Adan-Bayewitz 1993); these included bowls of Types 1A (Fig. 8:3, 5), 1B (Fig. 8:4, 6) and 1C (Fig. 8:7). Other finds include imported Eastern Terra Sigillata ware (Fig. 8:8, 9), fragments of a mortarium (Fig. 8:10), Kefar Hananya cooking pot, Type 4C (Fig. 8:11), jugs (Fig. 8:12–15) and a jar (Fig. 8:16).
A worn bronze coin was found above W13. It is probably of Hadrian and has a rectangular countermark and an image facing to the right, dating to the first half of the second century CE (IAA 141879).
The terra sigillata ware and the coin date the complex to the Early Roman period, the late first–early second centuries CE.
Stratum I, Byzantine Period (fourth–sixth centuries CE)
Area B. Architectural remains were partially exposed below a layer of travertine alluvium. They continued in the northern section (W14; length 1.1 m, width 0.45 m, height 0.26 m) and were composed of small and medium basalt fieldstones preserved a single course high. The construction was founded on a layer of tamped gray soil, containing potsherds from the Roman period. The potsherds collected in the soil layer and above the ruins of W5 dated to the Byzantine period (fourth–sixth centuries CE) and included a Kefar Hananya bowl of Form 2 (Fig. 8:17), a krater (Fig. 8:18) and a lid (Fig. 8:19).
The orientation of Wall 5 is consistent with the architectural planning of the residential buildings and the elevation of the floor is similar to that in Unit 4. Therefore, the finds of the Roman stratum in Area B might belong to the dwelling in Area A. If that is the case, then the building was at least 22 m long and more than 10.8 m wide. The paucity of collapsed building stones in the area of the dwelling and the preservation of its walls to an almost uniform height suggests that the upper parts of the walls consisted of mud bricks. The location of the dwelling might also indicate that the house was situated near the Roman road leading from Scythopolis to Neapolis. The exposure of the dwelling in this place is further evidence of the density of the settlement outside the city wall and the nature of the agricultural hinterland of Scythopolis in the Roman period. On the basis of the meager finds in Stratum I it is difficult to appreciate the nature of the settlement or the activity undertaken there in the Byzantine period. The stratum continues north of the excavation areas and it is possible other architectural remains will be found there.
Adan-Bayewitz D. 1993. Common Pottery in Roman Galilee: A Study of Local Trade (Bar Ilan Studies in Near Eastern Languages and Cultures). Ramat Gan.
Guz-Zilberstein B. 1995. The Typology of the Hellenistic Coarse Ware and Selected Loci of the Hellenistic and Roman Periods. In E. Stern. Excavations at Dor, Final Report I,B: Areas A and C; The Finds (Qedem Report 2). Jerusalem. Pp. 289–433.
Zori N. 1962. An Archaeological Survey of the Beth-Shean Valley. In The Beth Shean Valley: The 17th Archaeological Convention. Jerusalem. Pp. 135–198 (Hebrew).