Stratum 1—the Ottoman Period
Below a layer of modern ash and tree pruning, in the northern part of the excavation, several hearths and ovens (L1039, L1049) were exposed, as well as clay pipes that served to date these finds to the Ottoman period. East of the ovens was a wall (W13), oriented northeast-southwest and built of unworked fieldstones and gray mortar. It seems to have delimited the area of the ovens, which may have been part of the kitchen. The wall, preserved two–three courses high, abutted the northern wall of the fortified tower (W11) from the Crusader period.
Stratum 2—the Crusader Period
Three walls (W1, W2, W11; average width 2.5 m) of a tower, built of large roughly hewn stones without mortar, were discovered. The spaces between the stones were filled with red clay and the outsides of the walls were coated with plaster. The tower extended west beyond the limits of the excavation; as it was not exposed in the excavations on the other side of Highway 4, its western wall can presumably be reconstructed below the highway. The entrance to the tower was not discovered and it was probably set in the western wall. The floor of the tower (L1032) was an uneven stone pavement, preserved in only part of the tower; it was probably partially destroyed or perhaps only covered part of the tower. Numerous collapsed stones, a layer of ash indicative of a fire and relatively few potsherds dating to the eleventh–twelfth centuries CE were discovered on the floor. Based on the scant amount of artifacts on the floor, it seems that the structure was deserted and only later, was burned. No internal partitions were found in the tower and in view of the large quantity of ash, the inner walls were probably built of wood. A stone-paved space (L1017), probably contemporaneous with the tower, was located north of W11 and it was severed when Wall 13 was built in the Ottoman period. Two plaster-built installations (L1042, L1046) were found to the east of and adjacent to W1. Ash and an iron horseshoe were discovered inside Installation 1042. Installation 1046 was round, built of plaster and devoid of finds.
Stratum 3—the Byzantine Period
Walls ascribed to the Byzantine period (W10, W16) were exposed in two probe trenches excavated below the floor of the tower. Wall 10 extended north below W11 and was incorporated within it. The foundations of two walls from the Byzantine period (W3, W4) were found south of the tower. Sterile clay soil was discovered below the Byzantine walls.
Stratum 4—the Hellenistic Period
The foundations of a building (W9, W12, W14, W15, W17) and its floor (L1045) were found in the northern part of the excavation area, directly below the ash layer of the Ottoman period. The building was dated to the Hellenistic period based on the pottery found on its floor. The eastern side of the structure was damaged when a trench for a telephone line was dug.
It seems that the beginning of the settlement at Khirbat en-Nazla was in the Hellenistic period, with the foundation of the building discovered in the north of the excavation area. Its complete plan is unknown, yet it appears to be a dwelling. Very little of the Byzantine buildings was discovered and it is therefore impossible to assess their function. It seems that the site was abandoned after the Byzantine settlement and was reoccupied only in the Crusader period when the fortified defensive tower, which was later deserted and destroyed by fire, was built. Wall 13 and ovens were built in the Ottoman period, following a hiatus when the site was unoccupied.
H. Barbe suggested identifying the Crusader tower with the Pain Perdu settlement of the monastery of St. Lazarus. This order, which treated lepers from amongst the pilgrims coming to the Holy Land, separated from the Hospitaller Order in the twelfth century CE. Documents of the period mention a settlement and fortified tower situated in this geographical region that were given to the knights of the order by the Bishop of Caesarea. The settlement is mentioned in Prawer’s book: “To the south the pilgrim encounters a marshland near Nahal Tanninim. A house of worship there, dedicated to the Virgin Mary, became famous because it was usually visited by pilgrims from Caesarea. Here too was a village with the very strange name Peine Perdue (meaning “to no avail”) or Pain Perdu (meaning “lost bread”) and also called the Tower of St. Lazare…” (Prawer J. 1976, The Crusaders: Portrait of a Colonial Society, Jerusalem, p. 220). It therefore seems that the tower remains in the excavation are those of this settlement.