In June 2019, a trial excavation was conducted to the east of Eth-Thaljiat (Tel Jiat; Permit No. A-8541; map ref. 27635–50/78540–80; Fig. 1), in preparation for the development and construction of wind-power plants. The excavation, undertaken on behalf of the Israel Antiquities Authority, was directed by A. Kleiner and K.S. Rafael, with the assistance of Y. Yaakobi (administration), H. Tahan-Rosen (finds drawing), L. Brailovsky (flints) and workers from Kafr Yasif and Bir el-Maksur.
Tel Jiat commands a view of the surrounding area on the edge of the Quneitra Valley, on the main road that once ran between the Hula Valley and Damascus; a survey conducted in 1884 recorded a populated village in the area of the ruins (Schumacher 1888:189, 296). A recent survey of the site documented an accumulation of tell soil mixed with numerous Mamluk potsherds, which probably covers a site dating from the Late Roman and Byzantine periods (Hartal 2017: Site 40). Excavations in the southwest of the tell in 2013 (Fig. 1: A-6820) revealed two thirteenth–fourteenth-century CE structures. The stone rubble in one of the buildings contained two lintels decorated with crosses; they were probably brought from the ruins of the Byzantine settlement on the tell. Remnants of a settlement from the Ottoman period (nineteenth century CE) were found on top of the architectural remains.
Two excavation areas opened to the east of the tell (A, B; Fig. 2) yielded Roman and Byzantine pottery but were devoid of any architectural remains.
Area A (Fig. 3). Soil containing meager finds lay beneath the surface and on top of the Scoria bedrock (Fig. 4). The surface finds comprise several fragments of Roman- and Byzantine-period pottery. These consist of bowls (Fig. 5:1, 2), including bowls of a type commonly found at Banias (Fig. 5:2); cooking pots, some of which are of Kefar Hananiya ware (Fig. 5:3; Adan-Bayewitz 1993:103–109), others are typical of Banias (Fig. 5:4; Berlin 1999:34–36) and some are of Hawarit ware (Fig. 5:5; Hartal, Hudson and Berlin 2008:13); a Banias ware jar (Fig. 5:6); and a typical Late Byzantine ware pithos from the northern Golan Heights (Fig. 5:7).
Area B (Fig. 6). The finds are similar to those in Area A: here, too, potsherds from the Roman and Byzantine periods were scattered on the surface and on the natural Scoria bedrock. A soil layer above the bedrock yielded a pile of fieldstones interspersed with seven flint items: a side scraper (Fig. 7:1), a Levallois core (Fig. 7:2), three chips (less than 1.5 mm in size) and two worn, unidentifiable items with a double patina.
The excavation finds may help in defining the boundary of the agricultural land to the east of the site in the Roman and Byzantine periods. The Kefar Hananiya bowl is an unusual find, reopening the question as to why the ware is found at this particular site, while it is lacking at other Roman sites in the northern Golan (Hartal 2005:358).
Adan-Bayewitz D. 1993. Common Pottery in Roman Galilee: A Study of Local Trade. Ramat Gan.
Berlin A.M. 1999. The Archaeology of Ritual: The Sanctuary of Pan at Banias/Caesarea Philippi. BASOR 315:27–45.
Hartal M. 2005. Land of the Ituraeans: Archaeology and History of the Northern Golan during the Hellenistic, Roman and Byzantine Periods (Golan Studies 2). Qazrin (Hebrew).
Hartal M., Hudson N. and Berlin A.M. 2008. Khirbat El-Hawarit: A Ceramic Workshop on the Mount Hermon Slopes. ‘Atiqot 59:131–155.
Schumacher G. 1888. The Jaulân: Surveyed for the German Society for the Exploration of the Holy Land. London.