In March 2018, a salvage excavation was conducted west of Moshav Me ‘Ami (Permit No. A-8243; map ref. 21355–65/71225–35; Fig. 1), prior to construction work. The excavation, undertaken on behalf of the Israel Antiquities Authority, was directed by A. Oshri (field photography), with the assistance of M. Kahan (surveying and drafting), Y. Amrani and E. Bachar (administration), M. Shuiskaya (finds drawing), L. Sandberg (numismatics), Z. Gal (pottery consultation), A. Shukrun (preliminary inspections), E. Oren (safety) and laborers from Umm el-Faḥm.
The excavation was conducted to the west of Moshav Me ‘Ami, south of Umm el-Faḥm and about a kilometer south of Khirbat Jarrar (Jabour 2004), where Late Roman and Byzantine remains were found. Four stone heaps were located; two were excavated manually (L10, L11; height c. 0.5 m; Figs. 2–4), and the other two—with mechanical equipment (L12, L13; not on plan). The excavation verified that these were stone-clearance heaps. One of the heaps was set in a natural depression, where numerous stones could be deposited.
Pottery from the heaps and the surrounding area included Iron Age II bowl fragments (Fig. 5:1, 2); numerous potsherds from the Persian period, including bowls (Fig. 5:3, 4), a cooking pot (Fig. 5:5) and jars (Fig. 5:6–16); and some Roman pottery, including jar fragments (Fig. 5:17, 18). Stone heap 11 yielded two fragments of basalt grinding stones (Fig. 6)—probably the remains of Olynthus millstones, which are typical of the Persian period—and an almost completely worn bronze coin minted in 375–425 CE (IAA 174831).
The numerous Persian-period potsherds found at the site despite the absence of architectural remains suggest that either they were brought with earth that was transferred to the site from elsewhere to improve the local farming soil (Tepper 2007); or they are the remains of seasonal, temporary camps that had perishable tents or huts that were used by herders or seasonal farm laborers.
Tepper Y. 2007. Soil Improvement and Agricultural Pesticides in Antiquity: Examples from Archaeological Research in Israel. In M. Conan ed. Middle East Garden Traditions: Unity and Diversity; Questions, Methods and Resources in a Multicultural Perspective (Dumbarton Oaks Colloquium on the History of Landscape Architecture XXXI). Washington, D.C. Pp. 41–52.