During June 2002, a salvage excavation was conducted on Hativat Yiftah Way in Zefat (Permit No. A-3635*; map ref. NIG 2460–70/7635–40; OIG 1960–70/2635–40), in the wake of damage to archaeological remains, reported by Y. Stepansky and caused by the building of a staircase, leading from city center to the Fortress Garden, between Jerusalem Street and Hativat Yiftah Way. The excavation, on behalf of the Antiquities Authority, was directed by H. Barbé, assisted by Y. Ya‘aqoby (administration) and V Essman and A. Hajian (surveying).
Due to the location of the remains, between the western side of the street and the beginning of the slope, the excavation was limited to a strip (9 m long, 3.5 m wide). This area was almost completely occupied by impressive masonry. The preserved top of a wall was uncovered less than 0.5 m below the street and was excavated to a depth of 2.25 m (Figs. 1–3). Its base was not reached. The wall was built of limestone blocks bound in lime mortar with ashy material. The western side of the wall was eroded, in accordance with the general slope of the embankment. The eastern side showed evidence of a linear course, although it was impossible to fully identify a facing. On the basis of this observation, as well as the negative prints of the now absent ashlars in the mortar and the collapse of a plaster layer in the northeastern edge, it is assumed that the facing was systematically robbed.
Since the excavation could not be extended eastward, the study of stratigraphy was difficult. The various layers identified in the fill produced a heterogeneous material, dating to the Crusader, Mamluk and Ottoman periods.
The impressive volume of the masonry and its location suggest that this wall was undoubtedly a segment of the outer enceinte of the Frankish fortification from the thirteenth century CE, which stood to a significant height at the end of the nineteenth century CE, when it was identified by the team of the Survey of Western Palestine
(Fig. 4; SWP I 1881, Sheet IV, between pp. 248–249; W107 can be looked up in HA-ESI 117).