A salvage excavation was conducted in August 2001 at Kh. Lidd (A-3486*; map ref. NIG 2213/7243; OIG 1713/2243) in the wake of damage to antiquities, caused by trenching activities for the laying of communication cables. The excavation, on behalf of the Antiquities Authority and financed by Cellcom Communications, was directed by K. Covello-Paran, with the assistance of A. Hajian (surveying), Y. Gorin-Rosen (glass finds), H. Tahan (find drawing), D. Avshalom-Gorni (pottery analysis).
Kh. Lidd is located in the heart of the Yizre’el Valley, above a basalt outcrop east of Moshav Ha-Yogev. The remains of an abandoned Turkomen village, Lidd el-Awadin, which was destroyed during leveling activities and later soil extraction for agricultural purposes, exist above the ancient site. Today, huge sections, resulting from modern destruction of the mound, exhibit protruding walls. An active spring, ‘En ‘Ad‘ad, is located next to Kh. Lidd; its waters presently flow into a man-made pool for the local flocks and are pumped to nearby settlements. This spring, issuing at the join between the basalt outcrop, the limestone bedrock and the valley floor, was the catalyst for the ancient settlement in this area.
The site had previously been surveyed by A. Raban within the ‘Afula Map; he mostly found potsherds dating to the Ottoman period (pers. comm.). Raban also excavated a built tomb with numerous grave goods dating to the end of the third and beginning of the fourth centuries CE (HA 54–55:7–8). Remains of a Chalcolithic and Early Bronze Age settlement were also excavated at the outskirts of the site (ESI ).
Two isolated areas (A, B), 20 m apart (Fig. 1), were opened in the current excavation.
Area A (Fig. 2)
The excavations in Area A (5.4 × 6.0 m) exposed a winepress (Stratum II) and a stone-built channel (Stratum I).
Stratum II. The walls and treading floor of a well-preserved winepress constructed above sterile soil were revealed (Fig. 3). The winepress was not fully excavated; however, the exposure of three of its corners enabled a reconstruction of its size (4.1 × 6.3 m) and of the rectangular shape of the treading floor. The stone walls were constructed from a well-built panel of large stones facing the treading floor, whereas the exterior panel was a hard-packed conglomerate of smaller filler stones. A thick layer of white plaster covered the walls; repeated coats of the plaster were separated by a layer of ceramic body sherds. These plastered walls sloped down toward the treading floor, which was composed of a white limestone mosaic floor (size of tesserae 1.5–2.0 cm) that was laid out in perfect rows above a plaster and limestone bedding (thickness 0.2 m). Originally, the treading floor abutted the stone panel of the winepress walls; however, the replastering of the walls covered over this connection. The floor was inclined toward a conduit opening in the wall of the southeast corner. The conduit accommodated a lead pipe (diam. 8 cm) that led to a collecting basin, not found in the present excavation.
Directly below the modern surface and west of the channel was an accumulation (L104) of unknown nature that appeared to be post-winepress. It consisted of a few large stones, including a stone column segment lying on its side.
A large quantity of finds was recovered above the treading floor, representing a post-winepress accumulation. The finds were not in situ, yet they represented the chronological range of the winepress and additional activity in this area of the site. The bulk of finds dated to the Early Byzantine period; however, some of the glass vessels pointed to an earlier date in the Late Roman Period.
Pottery. The assemblage primarily dated to the Byzantine period (fifth to sixth centuries CE) and included local vessels, such as cooking pots (Fig. 5:5, 6), storage jars (Fig. 5:7, 8) and a Gaza-ware storage jar (Fig. 5:9), alongside well-levigated fine imported bowls LRC 3E, F (Fig. 5:1, 2), CRS 1, 2 (Fig. 5:3, 4), and an imported amphora (Fig. 5:10). The large quantity of Saqiye jars (Fig. –13), which constituted over 50% of the identifiable fragments, was not surprising in light of both the water channel and the nearby spring.
Area B (Fig. 6)
A stone foundation (L200) of an ancient road, 1.5 m below modern surface, was uncovered. This stone foundation (width 7.2 m) consisted of large to medium basalt and limestone cobbles, hard packed together (Fig. 7). Larger stones in the northern part of the foundation were probably curb stones. This hard-packed stone layer directly overlaid a 0.1 m layer of finer gravel and non-indicative potsherds.
It is probable that the paving stones, originally set above the exposed stone foundation, were stolen in antiquity. They were possibly similar to the orthostats of the water channel (L103) in Area A.
It is proposed here that this road foundation was part of the Roman-road network. Kh. Lidd is located at the supposed junction of two Roman highways––the Caesarea–Schytopolis road and the Legio–Sepphoris road. This proposal is supported by the identification of the junction, the recognition of a Roman road south of Kh. Lidd and the width and construction of the excavated foundation. It was substantiated by I. Roll and B. Isaac of the Roman-road survey team. It is only the absence of the well-hewn curb stones and paving stones (robbed in antiquity) that add reservations to this identification.
The present excavation, although limited, illuminates the Late Roman to Early Byzantine period settlement at Kh. Lidd. The winepress (Area A) is located at the southern periphery of the site and is suggestive of an area designated for industrial activities, both adjacent to and north of the excavated area. This area probably included various installations for the processing of agricultural products (e.g., grapes for wine) and the close proximity of this area to the vineyards and fertile valley floor was advantageous. In addition, both the adjacent spring and the ancient road network (Area B) were favorable for these activities. The quality of the winepress construction (mosaic treading floor, lead pipe, successive replastering) suggests that wine was an important component of the local economy. The pottery vessels in the accumulation above the winepress floor provide a terminus ante quem and therefore date the usage of the press to before the Byzantine period. The winepress is therefore dated to the Late Roman period, at which time there was on-site glass production at Kh. Lidd, alongside the wine industry. The Roman-road foundation (Area B) provides primary evidence for the Roman-road network that is believed to have passed adjacent to the site. The stone-built water channel (Area A) reveals one of the methods used to bring water from the spring into the settlement and strengthens the connection between the site and the spring. The large quantities of Saqiye jars suggest that this channel should be dated to the Byzantine period.
The Glass Vessels
The excavation in Area A yielded c. 340 fragments of glass vessels, 238 of them are unidentifiable body fragments. The remaining 102 fragments belong to glass vessel types that were widely distributed throughout the Galilee in the fourth and beginning of the fifth centuries CE. Most of the vessels have comparisons in the assemblage from the glasswork at Jalame, dating to the second half of the fourth century CE.
Bowls. The fragments included a rounded rim (Fig. 8:1); a twice-folded rim that formed a double, thickened wall; a horizontal ridge below the rim; a rim that is folded out and hollow, rim fragments that have a double hollow tube below the rim; high and low hollow base rings, a raised hollow base ring, a trumpet base of a bowl or a jug (Fig. 8:2) and the base ring that was made of a glass strip affixed to its bottom (a pad base; Fig. 8:3).
Cups. Rims and bases of cups, having a thickened solid base (Fig. 8:4) that is a characteristic type of the assemblages from the fourth century CE.
Bottles. Rims rounded in fire; some are adorned with thin decorative trails.
Juglets. Funnel-shaped rims; a neck decorated with a wound trail (Fig. 8:6); small, pushed-in base rings (Fig. 8:5) and the base of a juglet or bottle decorated with thumb impressions (Fig. 8:7).
Glass production debris was also found, including three fragments of waste from a glass kiln and one pendant. It is assumed that a workshop operated at the site, similar to that excavated at Jalame. The glass industry was probably located in the industrial zone of the settlement, close to the winepress.
According to the regional survey of the southern Yizre’el Valley, an urban and rural expansion occurred in this area during the Late Roman and Early Byzantine periods (Map of Mishmar Ha-‘Emeq , 1999:22*). Undoubtedly, the wine industry, glass production and the ancient road of Kh. Lidd were an integral part of this expansion.