Area A
Excavations in this area were particularly difficult, since the groundwater level was very high, due to the season. Although archaeological remains were reached only at a level of c. 6.6 m asl, work had to be carried out with the help of pumps that prevented the flooding of squares. The remains of a Roman road were uncovered for a length of 21 m (Fig. 2). The road (width 4.8 m) consisted of two construction layers. A foundation layer (thickness 15–20 cm) of black-grayish, clayish soil, which contained some small limestone chips but no archaeological finds, such as potsherds, was laid out on the sandy ground. The upper layer used unworked chalk fieldstones of different sizes. It was covered with a layer of crushed kurkar in various parts of the excavated area, possibly as a repair of these sections. Curbstones were not discerned. Although the road was at an elevation of c. 6.5 m above sea level, it did not use any artificial embankment, to raise it above the surroundings and prevent flooding during winter.

Small numbers of potsherds and coins were found between the stones of the road. Most of the ceramic fragments were too worn to allow dating; however, comparing the wares with pottery found in previous excavations at the site indicates that they should be dated to the Roman or Byzantine periods. The coins pointed to a date in the fourth century CE. This suggests that the use of the road can be dated to the beginning of the Byzantine Period. A section cut in the road (L510; Fig. 2) did not yield any datable finds and the road’s construction date remains uncertain.


Another section of the same road, connecting Caesarea and Shuni had previously been excavated by Y. Ne’eman (ESI 15), who dated the road to the Byzantine Period and recognized two phases of construction; during the later phase the road was raised by c. 0.6 m. The coins from his excavations were dated to the fourth century CE as well, but were found out of context. The date suggested for the construction of the road was not certain, although a date in the (late?) Roman period may seem likely. Contrary to the section excavated by the author, Ne’eman found the curbstones preserved along both sides of the road. It seems that one of the phases Ne’eman identified was missing from the new excavated area; it should probably be reconsidered as having a solely construction purpose. Nonetheless, the orientation, the width and the building technique show that both excavated sections belonged to the same ancient road.




Area B
A kurkar quarry was excavated in this area, c. 650 m north of Area A (Figs. 3, 4). The quarry was c. 3.5 m deep and around its deepest point, up to 14 hewn steps were identified. Some of the quarried stones’ negatives indicated a size of 0.90 × 0.35 × 0.40 m. Roughly the same size was noted for stones left unfinished in the quarry. A complete stone (0.70 × 0.28 × 0.37 m) remained at the bottom of the quarry. The quarry was devoid of pottery or any other archaeological finds, which could have assisted in dating it. It seems, however, that the quarry was used either for one of the buildings in the area, such as the mausoleum (HA-ESI 115) discovered nearby, or for the construction of Roman–Byzantine Caesarea.


Area C
A large kurkar quarry was unearthed in this area, located c. 150 m southwest of Area B (Fig. 5). The quarry (37 × 15 × 6 m) was located on the western slope of a kurkar reef. The stone-cutting marks indicated stones of various sizes. In the southern part of the quarry the stones were similar in size to those observed in Area B; in other parts, much larger blocks were cut. Furthermore, the lid of a sarcophagus (0.95 × 0.40 × 0.23 m) that was recovered from the quarry together with other fragments of sarcophagi in the area west of the quarry seem to indicate that this quarry was particularly used for the production of sarcophagi. Complete and disturbed sarcophagi burials have been recorded and partly excavated in the area, in recent years (ESI 20:37*).
A few potsherds, as well as glass fragments were found in this area, dating to the Roman and Byzantine periods. 


Limekiln. During the excavations by E. Yannai in 1995 a limekiln was exposed. It was dismantled by the restoration and conservation department of the IAA during the current excavation, to be rebuilt at the Ertez-Israel Museum in Tel Aviv. The pottery recovered from the kiln included saqiye vessels and a cooking pot (Fig. 6), all dating to the Roman period (fourth century CE), which confirms the date suggested for the kiln by its excavator.



The Coins
Gabriela Bijovsky


Eight coins were discovered in Area A during the excavation, two of them unidentifiable. The coins indicate that the road was in use by the fourth century CE, but none of them aids in dating its construction. The appearance of a much earlier coin, dated to Ptolemy II (285–246 BCE) is not unusual, since archaeological remains from this period were excavated in the vicinity (see Bijovsky, The Coins, in E. Yannai, ‘Atiqot, forthcoming).





IAA Number

Ptolemy II

285-246 BCE



Constantius II

355-361 CE



Late Roman

351-361 CE



Late Roman

364-375 CE



Late Roman

Second half of fourth century CE



Late Roman

Fourth century CE