In the current excavation (Fig. 1), eight squares were opened (A–E, I, J, L; Fig. 2). They were arranged in a row running in a general east–west direction along the planned route of the sewer line. The location of the squares was determined according to the finds discovered during the preliminary inspection.
Two settlement strata (I, II) were discovered: the upper stratum (I) dates to the Ottoman period (eighteenth–twentieth centuries CE), and the lower stratum (II) dates to the Late Byzantine–Early Islamic period (seventh–eighth centuries CE). The two Strata were separated by a thick layer of earth fill.
Remains ascribed to this stratum were uncovered in all the squares (Figs. 2, 3). The finds include architectural remains, a tabun and habitation levels that will be described from east to west.
Square A (Figs. 4–6). A wall (W128; length 3.6 m, width 1 m, height 0.7 m), extending along a northeast–southwest axis, was discovered. The wall, preserved two courses high, was built without mortar. Its western face was built of small and medium, roughly hewn stones, whereas the eastern face was constructed of ashlars, possibly indicating that it was the outer face of the outer wall of the building. The wall was abutted on the east by a flat stone slab (L146; Fig. 6), perhaps a remnant of a floor.
Body sherds of vessels dating from the Iron Age through the Ottoman period were collected in the accumulations above the wall. In a probe trench opened east of the wall (L140), fragments of Byzantine-period pottery vessels were collected, including bowls (Fig. 7:8, 9) and jars (Fig. 7:10, 11); these date the wall to the Byzantine period.
Squares B–D. A habitation level (L126, L127) was discovered. It included a large concentration of Byzantine-period pottery sherds, mostly Gaza-jar fragments, and clusters of medium and large kurkar stones.
Square I. Remains of a room with a tabun and two in-situ jars — probably used for household activities, including cooking and grinding — were uncovered. The room, oriented in a general northeast–southwest direction, was enclosed by walls on the north and west (W135, W137; Fig. 8). Wall 135 was constructed of kurkar stones bonded with debesh, and W137 was built of large dressed kurkar blocks. Although no clear connection was discovered between the two walls, their alignment and the nature of their construction seem to indicate that they belong to the same building. A floor foundation (L138) of white plaster mixed with black and red grits was partially preserved east of W137. A white industrial mosaic floor preserved over the foundation in the southeastern part of the square and the numerous tesserae collected from the fills above the foundation suggest that the entire room was paved with a coarse white mosaic. Many pottery fragments dating to the Byzantine period, mostly of jars, were collected from the accumulation above the floor foundation. Fragments of bowls and jars that date to this period were also found in a probe opened in the center of the floor foundation.
A deep tabun (L134; diameter 0.7 m, depth 0.6 m; Figs. 8, 9) was built against the southern face of W135 and its foundation. The accumulation inside the tabun contained body fragments of Byzantine-period pottery vessels. West of the tabun, two adjacent, in-situ jars were found set up-side down into the floor (L141; Fig. 10). The jars are made of brown clay and have ribbed bodies. Their bases were not preserved, possibly because they were intentionally removed in order to convert the jars into hearths or storage installations. Charcoal and burnt matter that was found inside the jars support this supposition.
Square L. A wall (W143), oriented northeast–southwest and built of large, well-dressed kurkar blocks without mortar, was discovered. Its southern face was damaged as a result of modern activity. A pavement (L144) of small and medium fieldstones was discovered in the southern part of the square, parallel to W143, and may be related to it. Pottery sherds collected above and alongside these remains date to the Byzantine period.
Remains of a wall (W145) built of roughly hewn medium sized blocks were unearthed c. 0.4 m below the level of W143 and Pavement 144. The wall was only partially excavated. Modern disturbances hampered any dating of the wall or determining whether it belonged to an earlier phase in the Byzantine period or to an earlier stratum.
Remains dating to the Ottoman period were discovered mainly in the eastern part of the excavation area. Remains of a cesspit, a lime pit and a room were exposed.
The cesspit (L110; outer diameter 1.3 m, inner diameter 0.6 m) was discovered in the northwestern part of Sq A (see Fig. 4). The pit was dug into brown earth and lined, without mortar, with large, roughly hewn kurkar blocks, preserved seven courses high. A clay jug was set into the cesspit. Cesspits of this type were found at numerous sites and were dated to the Ottoman period. A recently excavated example was uncovered at Yehud (HA-ESI 124).
An elliptical lime pit (L102; length 2.3 m, width 1.7 m) was discovered in the southwestern corner of Sq A (see Fig. 4). Its walls and floor were coated with white plaster. A lime industry existed in the country’s settlements during the nineteenth century (Avitzur 1972:279).
A room (L126), built along a general north–south axis, was discovered in Sqs D–E (Fig. 11). It southern, eastern and western walls (W109, W112, W117) were uncovered. The walls, built of small and medium, roughly hewn limestone blocks without mortar and preserved two courses high, had foundations set within brown earth.
The pottery fragments recovered from this stratum included bowls (Fig. 7:16, 17), jars (Fig. 7:18–20) and jugs (Fig. 7:21–23) dated to the Ottoman period.
Numerous pottery vessels were discovered in Stratum II. These include a large amount of storage vessels, most prominently jars (e.g., Fig. 7:10, 11) as well as jugs and kraters. Most of the jars belong to a type that dates to the transition phase from the Byzantine period to the Early Islamic period. Also found were several luxury vessels, such as Cypriot bowls (Fig. 7:9). Fragments of a glass vessel that was dated to the seventh–eighth centuries CE were also found (see below).
Alongside pottery sherds characteristic of the Ottoman period, several bracelets made of colored glass and glass beads (below) were discovered in Stratum I.
Numerous animal bones were discovered in both strata, although not in sealed loci. A stone column base of outstanding quality (Fig. 12) was also unearthed, albeit not in a clear archaeological context. Fragments of pottery vessels from a range of periods were found as well: a bowl (Fig. 7:1), kraters (Fig. 7:2, 3) and jars (Fig. 7:4, 5) from the Iron Age 1; a mortarium (Fig. 7:6) from the Persian period; a krater or cooking pot (Fig. 7:7) from the Hellenistic period; a bowl (Fig. 7:12), a krater (Fig. 7:13), a jar (Fig. 7:14) and a jug (Fig. 7:15) from the Early Islamic period; and glazed sherds from the Mamluk and Ottoman periods (Fig. 13). Pottery from the Roman and Mamluk periods (not drawn) was also found. None of these vessels were discovered in a clear archaeological context.
Three bronze coins were discovered, two of which could be identified: a Byzantine coin of Justin II (IAA 142209; 575/6 CE; minted in Constantinople) and an Ottoman coin (IAA 142208) from the seventeenth century CE.
Only few glass fragments were found in the excavation. The diagnostic fragments include the remains of a bluish-green bottle: its funnel-like mouth, its cylindrical neck and five small body shards distorted by fire (Fig. 14). The shape of the upper portion of the vessel and the quality of the glass indicate that it can be ascribed to Stratum II, which the excavator dates to the seventh-eighth centuries CE.
In addition, several small glass objects were found, representing Stratum I, which dates to the Ottoman period. These include four fragments, probably belonging to three bracelets (Fig. 15:1): one, made of dark blue translucent glass that looks black, is smooth and has a round cross-section; another, made of colorless translucent glass with a pale olive-green tinge, has a triangular cross-section and is decorated with an orange opaque glass string added along the edge; and two other fragments, which probably belong to one bracelet with a triangular cross-section, are made of colorless translucent glass with a pale olive-green tinge, decorated along the edge with opaque pieces of a glass ribbon of the same color and a green opaque glass string. These bracelets represent types that were well-known in the country during the Ottoman period.
Other glass objects include a large, elliptical plano-convex gemstone made of pale blue translucent glass (diameter 1.8 cm; Fig. 15:2), and a small spherical bead of dark blue, almost black translucent glass, decorated with polished rhombuses (diameter 0.8 cm; Fig. 15:3). The inset and bead are dated to the Ottoman period, but might be of a later date.
Although the excavation uncovered signs of human activity from various periods, only two distinct strata that contained clearly stratigraphic in-situ remains were found. Despite its limited scope, the excavation is important, since it is the excavation closest to Tel Bet Dagan, which rises up alongside it. The finds and the rather extensive construction point to considerable activity at the site during the Byzantine period. During the Ottoman period, the site was more rural and domestic in nature. Remains of this village can be seen in the area to this day.