Six rounded pits hewn in the kurkar bedrock were discovered which differed in depth, size and shape (Pit 100—diam. 1.23 m, depth 1 m; Pit 101—diam. 1.2 m, depth 0.8 m; Pit 103—diam. 1.55 m, depth 0.7 m; Pit 105—diam. 0.9 m, depth 0.4 m;
Pit 106—diam. 0.9 m, depth 0.24 m; Pit 107—diam. 0.90 × 1.25 m; Figs. 3–8). A layer of black soil (L104) was also discovered above the kurkar, which turned out to be a modern disturbance. Pit 103 was lined with small and medium-sized kurkar stones, without mortar. Stones found inside the pit may have fallen there when its ceiling collapsed. Pit 107 was bell-shaped. An accumulation of black earth mixed with fragments of household pottery vessels that date from the late Ottoman period and known from many sites was found inside the pits. The ceramics recovered in the excavation included locally produced bowls made of brown clay (Fig. 9:1–3); a Gaza-ware bowl made of black clay (Fig. 9:4); and a bowl imported from Didymoteicho, Greece treated with a green glaze on the inside wall (Fig. 9:5). Also found in were two types of kraters: one made of brown clay (Fig. 9:6) and the other, a Gaza-ware vessel, made of gray clay (Fig. 9:7). Two types of cooking pots were also found: one handmade of brown clay with mica inclusions, having ledge handles and a decoration of punctured marks around the neck (Fig. 9:8), which was a common type from the Mamluk period until the late Ottoman period, and the other a type of Gaza-ware cooking pot made of gray clay (Fig. 9:9). A jar made of brown clay (Fig. 9:10), which was common in the Ottoman period, and two tobacco pipes that are slipped in a reddish-brown color and burnished with rouletted and incised decorations (Fig. 9:11, 12) were also found. A round flower-like pattern was stamped on the right side of the stem of Pipe 12.
The various shapes of the pits indicate that they were used for various purposes. Some of them may have been intended for refuse, storage or some form of industrial use. It is also possible that they were used to plant trees; As the area is characterized by kurkar
, it was necessary to quarry pits in order to plant trees. Such rock-hewn planters were found in the kurkar
on a hill south of Tel Yavne (Shapira 1968
:64). According to Y. Shapira, water that collected inside the hewn planters provided the tree with a high concentration of moisture that ensured its growth. The random configuration of the pits in the area seem to indicate that they were not hewn for agricultural planting, but rather meant for only several trees (for an example of agricultural planting, see Jakoel and Nagar 2014
; Yannai pers. comm., re tree planters at Bet Dagan). Similar pits, hewn near dwellings, were discovered in other excavations conducted at the site (License
No. B-538/2015; A. Kohn-Tavor
, pers. comm.). The pits were part of the Arab village Al-Qubibah (for more information about the village, see Khalidi 1992:407–408).
According to a survey performed in the nineteenth century CE, trees and crops, such a fig, olive, zucchini and tobacco, surrounded the hill upon which the village was situated (Guérin 1869
:52). According to historical maps, the unearthed building remains were located along the eastern fringes of the village.