Sites 53 and 86 are located alongside the Nahal Zippori stream channel. Prior to the excavation, the flint items scattered across the surface were systematically collected, including Levallois items that are characteristic of the Mousterian culture of the Middle Paleolithic period, and two axes that are typical of the Pre-Pottery Neolithic period.
Two squares (2×2 m) were excavated at Site 53; one was dug to a depth of 1.6 m and the other to a depth of 0.5 m. Brown clay alluvium mixed with flint items was exposed throughout the entire depth of the excavation in both squares. A medium density of flint items was discerned in the upper part of the excavation and it decreased as the excavation went deeper. The flint items included tools and debitage.
Two squares (2×2 m) were excavated at Site 86. The western of the two was c. 30 m north of the Nahal Zippori stream channel and was excavated to a depth of 0.9 m (Fig. 2). Brown clay alluvium was exposed to a depth of 0.6 m and below it was a layer of numerous stream pebbles and knapped flint items, including tools. The strata in the section of this square were similar to those in the bank of the Nahal Zippori stream channel (Fig. 3); it seems that these are the deposits of an ancient stream. The eastern square is located c. 30 m from the Nahal Zippori stream channel was excavated to a depth of c. 0.4 m; brown clay alluvium that contained flint items was revealed. The density of flint items was highest in the upper part of the square, down to a depth of 0.15 m from the surface.
The flint assemblages at Sites 53 and 86 are similar. A total of 1,075 flint items were collected at both sites, about half of which are unidentifiable chunks, some are raw material, and the other half are knapped items, among them debitage (c. 30%) and tools (c. 20%). The debitage consists mainly of flakes (41.4%) and cores (15.3%), as well as primary flakes, core debris and blades. The tools include mainly retouched flakes (40%), side scrapers (20%; Fig. 4) and end scrapers, notches and retouched blades. The flint assemblage from both squares also includes two hand axes (Fig. 5:1) of a type that is mainly characteristic of the Lower Paleolithic period. Most of the indicative flint items are typical of the Mousterian culture of the Middle Paleolithic period (50,000–25,000 YBP), including, for example, nine Levallois cores for producing points and flakes (Fig. 6), a Levallois point (Fig. 5:2) and Levallois flakes, among them retouched Levallois flakes. The flint items from the Mousterian culture and the two hand axes were discovered in a worn state and covered with patina, probably a result of their having been swept a considerable distance. Along with the flint items characteristic of the Mousterian culture items, the assemblage contained items that are typical of later periods. At both sites pyramidal bladelet cores (Fig. 7:1, 2) that are mainly characteristic of the Epi-palaeolithic period (20,000–10,000 YBP) were discovered. It should be noted that unlike the items characteristic of the Mousterian culture, the bladelet cores are not worn, but do bear a slight patina. Axes (Fig. 7:3) typical of the Pre-Pottery Neolithic period, bearing no signs of wear, were also discovered on the surface.
Site 54. Remains of a rectangular dwelling (6×8 m; Figs. 8, 9) were exposed; it had four rooms paved with concrete (L10, L11, L19, L23). The eastern part of the building was destroyed when a road was built in the forest. A tabun (0.7×0.7 m) was discovered in Room 11 and a stone shelf (length c. 2 m) built c. 0.5 m above the floor was discovered in Room 19. Rock-cut channels (depth c. 0.2 m) led to a round, rock-hewn installation (L22; c. 1×1 m) that was located below the northern wall of Room 19. The installation predates the building, but its function is unclear. Fragments of Gaza jars (Fig. 10:3, 5) were discovered in the building. Large amounts of modern refuse were also discerned in the excavation.
Site 58. A cave hewn in soft limestone bedrock (L14; 1.5×2.5 m; Figs. 11, 12), in whose front was a rock-cut courtyard (L12), was exposed. Several non-diagnostic potsherds were discovered in the cave. Ammunition and four Swedish Carl Gustav submachine guns produced in a factory in Port Sa‘id, Egypt, between the years 1965–1970, were discovered hidden in the cave (Fig. 13).
Site 59 (Fig. 14). A large compound surrounded by a stone enclosure fence (12×19 m) was exposed. A rock-hewn cave (c. 3×5 m) was located in the compound’s eastern side, two small rooms were in its southern side (L15, L16; each c. 2×2 m) and a large courtyard (11 x 13 m; Fig. 15) was in its center. The excavation included a general cleaning of the compound; the floors of the two rooms were excavated down to the bedrock and two squares were excavated in the center of the courtyard (L17, L18). The cave was not excavated because it posed a safety hazard. The excavation yielded fragments of Rashaya el-Fukhar ware that originated in Lebanon and also fragments of black Gaza ware that dated to the Late Ottoman period (eighteenth–nineteenth centuries CE), among them a cooking pot (Fig. 10:2).
Site 60 (Fig. 16). Two dwellings that belonged to Saffuriya (L24, L27; Fig. 17) were exposed. A plastered rock-hewn cistern (L26) and a hewn cave (L25) whose ceiling collapsed were revealed between them. The floors in both buildings were of concrete and a layer of alluvium mixed with potsherds from the Ottoman period, including a jar rim (Fig. 10:4), and modern refuse had accumulated on them. The cistern was hewn partly inside a cave (Fig. 18). Rainwater drained into the cistern by way of channels that were hewn in bedrock outcrops above it. Cave 25 was next to Room 24, and it seems that it was used by the residents of the room.
Site 61. A cave (L28; 1×3 m; Figs. 19, 20) that bore signs of rock-cuttings on it sides and was probably used to produce lime was exposed. Several potsherds of the Byzantine period were discovered in the excavation, among them a bowl fragment (Fig. 10:1); the potsherds had apparently been washed into the cave.
Site 62 (Fig. 21). A bedrock outcrop was cleaned and a rock-hewn cupmark (L29; diam. 0.15 m, depth 0.15 m; Fig. 22) was discovered.
The flint assemblage discovered at Sites 53 and 86 dates mainly to the Mousterian culture in the Middle Paleolithic period. Based on the condition of most items—worn and covered with a patina—and the absence of bone finds and installations characteristic of prehistoric sites, it seems that the flint items at both sites accumulated there as a result of erosion. The architectural remains and caves discovered in the excavation date to the Ottoman period and British Mandate era, and it is clear they were part of the Saffuriya village. Some of the buildings were founded on hewn bedrock outcrops and it is unclear if the rock had been cut by the residents of Saffuriya or was hewn in earlier periods. Numerous potsherds from the Roman and Byzantine periods were discovered in the excavation areas, which are indicative of ancient activity at the site during these periods.