Abbasid period (Stratum III). The southeastern end of a wall (W123; Fig 3) aligned in a north–south direction was revealed in Area A. A basalt floor (L124) abutted the wall from the south. Collapsed building stones (L125) were discovered on the floor extending southward from W123 over c. 2 m. Fragments of pottery vessels that included a green glazed bowl (Fig. 4:1) and a jar from the Abbasid period (ninth–tenth centuries CE) were found on the floor and among the stones. The segment of the wall that was exposed was apparently the outside wall of a building, and the floor that adjoined it was the pavement of a courtyard or a street.
Mamluk period (Stratum II). The eastern face of a wide wall (W120; width 0.95 m; Figs. 3, 5) preserved to a height of six courses (1.5 m) was exposed in Area A. A thick white plaster floor (L122) abutted and covered the top of the wall’s bottom course. The wall and the floor were founded on the architectural remains from the Abbasid period. The wall that was uncovered in this stratum was apparently also the outer wall of a building, and the floor that abutted it was an exterior pavement. Based on the wall’s width, the structure was probably large and massive. Wall 120 collapsed outward, toward the east, and its stones were piled up in a heap (L121) on Floor 122. Fragments of pottery vessels from the Mamluk period (thirteenth–fifteenth centuries CE) were discovered among the stones, including a glazed bowl with a sgraffito decoration (Fig. 4:3; Avissar and Stern 2005:16, Fig. 6:1–4), a glazed slip-painted bowl (Fig. 4:4; Avissar and Stern 2005:19, Fig. 7), brown-glazed cooking vessels (Fig. 4:5) and body fragments of hand-made jars adorned with brown geometric patterns (Fig. 4:6, 7).
Corners of two buildings (W107, W112; Fig. 6) situated c. 5 m apart from each other were discovered in Area B. Another wall (W126) was found c. 2 m south of W112.
Late Ottoman period (Stratum I). Four walls of a room (W105, W111, W113, W116; Figs. 3, 5, 7) were exposed above the ruins of the building from the Mamluk period in Area A. The doorway to the room was discovered in W105. A floor of tamped crushed chalk (L119) was revealed inside the room. At some point another wall (W104) was built west of and parallel to W105, the purpose of which is unclear. Fragments of pottery vessels dating from the eighteenth century to the beginning of the twentieth century CE were discovered while excavating the stratum. These sherds included a Rashaya el-Fukhar bowl (Fig. 4:8) and cooking pots (Fig. 4:12, 13) that date from the nineteenth – early twentieth centuries, gray Gaza type jars (Fig. 4:14–16), fragments of glazed bowls imported from Europe (Fig 4:9–11; below) and fragments of a tobacco pipe (Fig 4:17–19).
Collapsed building stones were discovered in Area B.
Glazed Bowls of the Ottoman Period
Edna J. Stern
The glazed bowls discovered in the excavation are imported bowls dated to the eighteenth–nineteenth centuries CE. Most of the bowls were brought from all over the Ottoman Empire and were common in rural sites in the north of Israel, but one fragment of a special bowl was imported from Montelupo, Italy. To date, this type of bowl has been found mainly at coastal sites, such as ‘Akko, and at sites of political importance, such as Zefat, or of religious significance, such as Jerusalem and Nazareth. The discovery of this type of a bowl at a rural site in the country’s interior is an innovation. The vessel from Italy undoubtedly reflects activity conducted by European merchants in the Holy Land, as it was either brought to et-Taiyiba by Italian traders or purchased at one of the markets by a resident of et-Taiyiba.
A Bowl from Montelupo (Montelupo maiolica; Fig. 4:9). The bowl is made of light orange-brown fabric and has an everted rim. It is decorated with green, orange and brown tin glaze painted in circular patterns on a white background. The bowl was made in the city of Montelupo near Pisa in the eighteenth century CE, and it belongs to the city’s last phase of pottery production (Blake 1981:103, Phase 4). The bowls were exported by sea to sites in the Mediterranean basin; for example, bowls of this type were discovered in the cargo of a shipwreck south of France (Amouric, Richez and Vallauri 1999:123, 126–127, Figs. 247, 255).
A Bowl from Didymoteicho (Fig. 4:10). The bowl is made of orange clay and has an elongated, triangular rim. It is decorated with painted vertical stripes and is glazed in yellow (Slip Painted Ware). The bowl was likely produced at Didymoteicho, which is in Thrace in northern Greece, or in some other production center in Thrace or in northwestern Turkey. Bowls of this type date from the beginning of the nineteenth century through the middle of the twentieth century CE (Vroom 2005:186–187).
A Marble Ware Bowl (Fig 4:11). The bowl is made of orange clay (Fig. 4:10) and has a low ring base. It is decorated with a yellow and brown glaze that resemble a marble-like pattern. Vessels of this type were manufactured throughout the Ottoman Empire in the sixteenth–nineteenth centuries CE, and they apparently imitate fine-quality marbled ware that was produced in Pisa and elsewhere in Italy in the sixteenth–seventeenth centuries and were also exported to the Ottoman Empire (Vroom 2005:164–165).
The architectural remains that were uncovered are evidence of dense construction on the western bank of the Nahal Issachar in the Abbasid, Mamluk and Late Ottoman periods. Several pottery sherds dating to the beginning of the Early Islamic period were collected; thus, there may have been an earlier settlement that has yet to be exposed. Given the absence of ceramic finds from the Early Ottoman period (fifteenth–sixteenth centuries CE), it seems that the settlement was abandoned after the Mamluk period, and new buildings were constructed on the ruins only in the eighteenth or nineteenth century. The pottery vessels from the Late Ottoman period, particularly the glazed bowls imported from Europe, show that at least some of the inhabitants during that period were engaged in commerce or were sufficiently wealthy to purchase luxury tableware.