Hellenistic Period. Hellenistic potsherds were found throughout the site, usually in fills and mixed with later pottery.
In the western part of the excavation area, a layer of stones (L110) in fills, but their arrangement was not clear. Above this layer (L118) and in a probe dug to its south (L126) was pottery dating from the latter half of the second century BCE. It included local bowls (Fig. 4:5, 6), an imported slipped hemispherical bowl (Fig. 4:8), a decorated imported Ionian bowl (Fig. 4:9), the base of a semi-hemispherical bowl (Fig. 4:11) and a bag-shaped jar (Fig. 5:6).
A small probe dug in the center of the area yielded an Olynthian millstone (L144). Pottery discovered above and below the millstone included a second-century BCE bowl (Fig. 4:7); a krater (Fig. 4:3), a household krater (Fig. 4:4) and an amphora (Fig. 5:4) dated to the third–second centuries BCE; as well as the base of a spindle bottle (Fig. 5:7) dated to the fourth–third centuries BCE. No potsherds from other periods were found beside the millstone.
A living surface (W141) yielded pottery that dated from the second century BCE. It included an imported black-slipped fish bowl (Fig. 4:1) and a jar (Fig. 5:3); no potsherds from other periods were recovered from this surface. Mixed with the potsherds were the bones of cattle, sheep, and pig, all of which were charred (Appendix 1). The pig bones indicate that the population was not Jewish.
In a refuse pit from the Byzantine and Early Islamic periods (below) yielded a fragment of a bag-shaped jar (Fig. 5:5) from the second half of the second century BCE. Fills with pottery from various periods included a local fish bowl (Fig. 4:2), a Terra Sigillata bowl (Fig. 4:10), a cooking pot (Fig. 5:1) and a hemispherical cooking pot (Fig. 5:2), all dated to the third–second centuries BCE.
Byzantine Period. Byzantine pottery was recovered in several locations near building remains from the Abbasid period (below).
A surface (L133, L134) containing potsherds from the fourth–fifth centuries CE (not drawn) was discovered east of a wall (W107) from the Abbasid period. This may have been a Byzantine-period refuse pit, on top of which the Abbasid building was constructed. If so, it is one of several refuse pits in the area, as indicated by those unearthed by Ayalon on the opposite side of the road, suggesting that the area served as a dumping ground outside the settlement. A level of tamped potsherds unearthed in the southern part of the excavation area (L132; Fig. 6), similarly under a wall from the Abbasid period (W109), contained casserole (fourth–sixth centuries CE; Fig. 7:1, 2), bag-shaped jars (sixth century CE; Fig. 8:6, 7), Gaza jars (fifth–sixth centuries CE; Fig. 9:2), and an oil lamp (sixth–seventh centuries CE; Fig. 9:8). Among the potsherds were a chunks of glass debris from a furnace (Gorin-Rosen, below; see Fig. 17:8) and cattle and sheep bones, some of which bore cut marks and others were charred (Appendix 1). These finds, along with the refuse pits from across the road, attest to the dumping of refuse outside the boundaries of the ancient settlement.
Additional fills excavated near the walls of the Abbasid building contained pottery from the sixth–seventh centuries CE, including a bowl (Fig. 7:3), cooking pots (Fig. 7:4, 5), bag-shaped jars (Fig. 8:1–5), a Gaza jar (Fig. 9:1), a flask (Fig. 9:3), a casserole lid (Fig. 9:4) and Samaritan oil lamps (Fig. 9:5–7), similar to lamps recovered from the refuse pits dug by Ayalon. Two fragments of glass vessels (Gorin-Rosen, below; see Fig. 17:1, 4, below) and debris from a glass furnace (Gorin-Rosen, below; see Fig. 17:6, 7, below) dating from this period were found alongside the pottery. Body fragments of Byzantine vessels (not drawn) and shards of fifth–seventh-century CE bag-shaped jars (Fig. 8:8, 9) were found in a refuse pit from the late Byzantine and Early Islamic periods (below).
Late Byzantine – beginning of the Early Islamic Period. An oval refuse pit (L113–L115, L124; 3.3 × 4.5 m, c. 1.2 m deep; Fig. 10) was dug through black soil into underlying hamra soil. The pit was filled with black soil and contained a small amount of potsherds and glass fragments dating from the Hellenistic to the beginning of the Early Islamic period (for finds from earlier periods, see above). Among the vessels that determine the latest phase of use of the pit are a cooking pot (Fig. 11:5) dating to the seventh–eighth centuries CE and a glass wine bottle or goblet (Gorin-Rosen, below; see Fig. 17:2) of the same period.
Potsherds from the second half of the seventh century CE, including casseroles (Fig. 11:1, 2), an FBW bowl (Fig. 11:3), a cooking pot (Fig. 11:4), and a jug/pot (Fig. 11:6) were found in the fills near the walls of the Abbasid building.
Abbasid Period. The partial layout of a building containing at least five rooms (I–V; Figs. 2, 3) was exposed in the eastern part of the excavation area. Only the foundations of the building were preserved, and these were built into the clay soil using two methods: fieldstones without bonding material (W107–109, W119, W128, W142, W146), and packed gravel and soil (W123, W150, W151; e.g., Fig. 12). Although the walls of Room I abut none of the walls of the other rooms, they probably belong to the same building.
The north part of the building comprises two rows of rooms: northern (Room V) and southern (Rooms II–IV). Wall 123 is shared by the rooms in the southern row; an entrance with pillars identified on its southern side may have led to a courtyard. Probes dug south of W123 revealed no architectural remains, indicating that the wall was an external one. One of the walls (W128), which had a deeper foundation than others, may have supported a second floor. The various architectural styles may indicate several construction phases, but this cannot be categorically determined based on the remains. A worked stone (B1100; 0.25 × 0.35 m; Fig. 13) with four round depressions was exposed c. 2 m west of W128, lying on small fieldstones; a cross or a funnel was carved between the two northern depressions. Immediately to the north of the stone was an intact bag-shaped jar, ornamented with wavy-band combing (a zir jar; Fig. 14:4). If the stone was part of the wall, it was placed there in secondary use, and the jar was probably used for underground storage. However, if the stone was not part of the wall, it may have been part of an installation along with the jar. Another possibility is that the stone was part of an installation built into a niche in the wall. In any case, it is impossible to determine whether the installation was domestic or industrial. Most of the finds associated with the building are from three probes excavated near the walls, from the top of the walls down to the sterile soil. The probes contained yielded a variety of potsherds dating from the Hellenistic period (above) to the Abbasid period: an FBW bowl (Fig. 14:1), a krater decorated with wavy-band combing (Fig. 14:2), and a cylindrical baggy-shaped jar (Fig. 14:3).
Metal Finds. Four coins were found on the surface, of which three were identified: a worn coin from the fourth–fifth centuries CE (IAA 158786); a follis of the emperor Maurice Tiberius (582–602 CE; IAA 158787) minted in Nicomedia; and a Mamluk coin (?; IAA 158788). Also recovered were a fragment of a decorated bracelet (Fig. 15:1) that was dated to the Ottoman period based on a similar bracelet found while inspecting a Late Islamic cemetery at Bir Tarif (Fig. 15:2), as well as modern ammunition (below).
Asaf Peretz
Four items of ammunition were recovered (Fig. 16): the case of a pistol bullet, the case of a rifle bullet and two cartridges. The pistol bullet case (diam. 9 mm; Fig. 16:1) was manufactured by the Hungarian munitions industry (Fegyver és Gépgyár) in Budapest (BP) for use with a Frommer Stop pistol, as indicated by the letters F and P (Frommer Pistzoly; White and Munhall 1963:104, Item 880). The rifle bullet case (Fig. 16:2) had not been fired and was poorly preserved. Nevertheless, its dimensions and the preserved markings—2/17—are those of a German-made 7.92 × 57.00 mm diameter pistol-bullet case manufactured in February 1917 (White and Munhall 1963:84, Items 691, 692). One of the two cartridges recovered could not be measured or identified (Fig. 16:3). The second cartridge (diam. 10.4 mm, 11 g; Fig. 16:4), which was partly preserved, is probably a British .442 Webley round (10.5 × 17.0 mm). Similar cartridges have been found at other excavations in Israel (e.g., Jakoel 2016: Fig. 9:4, 5).
The presence of these items in Kefar Sava is not accidental: for nearly a year during the First World War, Kefar Sava was on the front line between the Ottoman and the British imperial forces. Kefar Sava was captured by the British 3rd (Lahore) Division’s 27th Punjabi Regiment during the breakthrough in the Sharon region in the offensive leading up to the Battle of Megiddo. Historical records of the campaign note that the regiment took Kefar Sava at 07:12 on 19 September 1918, before advancing on Qalqilya (Falls 1930:477).
Thus, the finds should be attributed to the fighting in the vicinity of the site. The pistol bullet case may have belonged to an Austro-Hungarian or Ottoman officer, and the British cartridge could have been used by either side, since ammunition of this type was available on the commercial market. An Ottoman officer—who was obliged to supply his own personal firearm—could have therefore purchased a British pistol of that caliber. The rifle bullet case was standard issue in the German army and arrived in the Ottoman following the Germany aid during the war.
Glass Finds
Yael Goren-Rosen
The excavation yielded 25 glass fragments, of which 18 were identified; most of these were small and poorly preserved. Five glass vessels (Fig. 17:1–5) that represent well-known and widespread types from the late Byzantine and Early Islamic periods were selected for publication, along with three fragments of glass-production debris found at the site (Fig. 17:6–8). Glass-production debris and lumps of glass were found in previous salvage excavations at the site (Birman 2006).
The vessels representing the late Byzantine period include a light bluish green glass bowl with an outfolded rim decorated with four blue trails inside the fold (Fig. 17:1). Alongside the bowl was a hollow ring base made of light greenish glass covered with silvery pitting (Fig. 17:3), which may belong to a similar type of bowl. Another hollow ring base, slightly raised and made of yellowish green glass covered with silvery, iridescent pitting (Fig. 17:4), may belong to either this type of bowl or to a plain bowl with a hollow, outfolded rim; the quality of the glass allows us to date it to this period. Another rim (Fig. 17:2), found in a refuse pit, represents a wine goblet or a large bottle with a thickened, outsplayed rim decorated with glass trails: an olive-green fused-in trail and below it thin, raised turquoise trails, which were applied to the rather thick wall. Light bluish green vessels decorated with turquoise trails are very typical of the late Byzantine and Early Islamic periods. This fragment is distinctive due to the olive-green trail which was fused onto the edge of the rim before the raised turquoise trails were added. Another bottle (Fig. 17:5) represents one of the Early Islamic period’s most characteristic types—a bottle with an infolded and thickened rim and a neck decorated with horizontal ridges. The bluish green bottle has a rather thick wall. Bottles of this type are known from many excavation sites in Israel, e.g. at Ramla (Gorin-Rosen 2010:233–235, Pl. 10.6:7, and further references therein).
The most characteristic examples of industrial waste were two fragments from the lower part of a furnace (Fig. 17:6, 7). Fragment No. 6 comprises a layer of bluish green glass fused to material that had accumulated at the bottom of a furnace. The way in which the upper part of the glass was broken (Fig. 17:6a) and the appearance of the waste in section (Fig. 17:6b) are very characteristic of furnaces in which raw glass was produced. Fragment No. 7 similarly comprises a layer of glass fused to a piece from the floor of a furnace and a layer of debris. The glass in this fragment was warped by heat, further evidence of a glass industry at the site. Furnaces in which the melting-chamber floors were preserved and covered with a thin layer of glass were discovered at Apollonia (Tal, Jackson-Tal and Freestone 2004) and at Bet Eliʻezer (Gorin-Rosen 2000). Fragments 6 and 7 belong to this type of furnace. Also found was a lump of debris (Fig. 17:8), which was part of a brick made of local material permeated with melted glass—also characteristic of furnaces in which raw glass was produced. The excavation yielded also a small flake of raw glass (not photographed). The glass-production debris was dispersed around the site, but none was found in the refuse pits.
The glass finds from the excavation add to previous finds, including glass-production debris, from the Late Roman–Early Islamic periods found at the site (Birman 2006).
The finds described above and those from previous excavations attest to activity that began in this area in the Hellenistic period and continued into the Byzantine and Early Islamic periods. Previous excavations in the vicinity of the site yielded no architectural remains from the Hellenistic period and only a few potsherds from this period. However, The Hellenistic-period pottery found in the current excavation not only revises the earliest date for this site, moving it from the first century CE back to the third and possibly even the fourth century BCE, but also indicates that the Hellenistic-period settlement was not far from the excavated area.
Ayalon’s (1978:21; 1998:117) probes, the nearby glass furnaces and the ancient road—all are evidence of an industrial area that existed during these periods beyond the boundaries of the settlement. A pottery kiln from the eighth–eleventh centuries was discovered approximately 400 m east of the excavation area (Gorzalczany 2009:83). This may be a continuation of the industrial area to the south of the tell.
The Abbasid-period building was built on a deliberate fill that contained pottery from a variety of periods, the latest of which were from the Abbasid period. An accurate reconstruction of the construction phases is impossible, but the building it was probably built in several stages throughout the Early Islamic period. There are two possible explanations for the differences in architectural styles found within the building. One explanation is that the building was constructed all at once, but the masons used a variety of building materials that happened to be at their disposal. This is indicated by differences in the thicknesses of the walls, even when built in the same style. Indeed, the construction appears to have been hasty and aimed at resolve immediate needs. A second possibility is that the various construction methods indicate that separate structures were joined together over time. This explains the difference between walls built of two rows of stones and those built of one row. As the building is located in an industrial area, it most probably was not a dwelling. In antiquity, buildings that were not dwellings, such as shops, were often located along main roads (Ayalon 1998:114). This building may be evidence of this tradition.