In October 2020, a salvage excavation was conducted in Tiberias (Permit No. A-8848; map ref. 250984–1012/743096–180; Fig. 1), prior to construction work. The excavation, undertaken on behalf of the Israel Antiquities Authority and funded by Shmuel Trabelsi, was directed by H. Mamalya (field photography), with the assistance of Y. Yaakobi (administration), H. Tahan-Rosen (pottery drawing), E. Amos (plans), Y. Asscher (analytical laboratory), O. Zingboym, R. Be’eri, E. Amos and Y. Alexandre (scientific consultation and guidance) and a team of laborers from Kafr Manda.
An excavation square (25 sq m) was opened on the eastern slope of a ridge that drops down toward the Sea of Galilee, c. 370 m to the east of the lakeshore. The excavation uncovered the remains of a liquid-storage installation from the Roman period (first–fourth centuries CE) and documented a wide wall exposed in a mechanically dug sections.
The excavation area was located in the northern part of the town that existed from the Roman to the Islamic periods (first–tenth centuries CE), on the southern boundary of the Ottoman-period town. Over 180 archaeological excavations and surveys have been conducted to date throughout Tiberias. Previous excavations and surveys in the vicinity of the excavation area revealed settlement remains dating from the Roman through the Ottoman periods (Stepansky 2005
; Stepansky 2007
; Stern 2007
; Hartal 2008
; Stepansky 2008; Damati 2009a
; Damati 2009b
; Dalali-Amos 2010
; Zingboym and Hartal 2011
; Hartal 2013
; Hartal and Harel 2013
2016: Sites 19
; Zingboym, Aharoni and Avshalom-Gorni 2019; License No. B-844/2020). A large concentration of cisterns, wells, reservoirs and other water-related remains had previously been discovered in the environs of the excavation.
The excavation unearthed a single course of a wide east–west wall (W50; excavated length 4.8 m, width 0.9 m; Figs. 2, 3) built of two rows of limestones with a core of small stones and copious amounts of bonding material. The stones of the wall’s northern face were smoothed and coated with a thick layer of light-colored plaster mixed with fine, dark inclusions. A floor (L105) abutting W50 from the north was made of a similar plaster. A bedding of packed stones (L106) was discovered beneath the plaster floor and abutting W50 on the north; the bedding was laid on earth mixed with basalt stones (L107). At some stage, an additional row of stones (W51) was built along the north face of W50; it damaged the plaster floor and therefore parts of it are founded directly on the stone bedding (Fig. 4).
The abundant bonding material and thick plaster coating indicate that the remains belong to a storage installation for some liquid, possibly a reservoir. The absence of bonding material and plaster on the later row of stones (W51) is evidence that it was not part of the liquid-storing installation.
The pottery discovered on the floor and in its bedding dates the installation to the Roman period (first–fourth centuries CE). It consists mainly of a Kefar Hananya bowls (Type D1; Fig. 5:1), two Kefar Hananya cooking pots (Type A4; Fig. 5:2, 3) and a Shikhin-type jar (Fig. 5:4).
Remains of another wide wall (W52; width c. 0.8 m; Fig. 6) set into a foundation trench (depth 1.5–1.6 m) were documented 8.2 m west of W50, higher up a slope. The wall was mechanically cut through in two spots (L108, L109), c. 12 m apart, on either side of an infrastructure pit. Wall 52 was built of large stones that retained a few traces of bonding material between them. The pottery recovered from the southern section (not drawn) also dates from the Roman period (first–fourth centuries CE).
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