Architectural remains dating to the Hellenistic and Crusader periods and the modern era were exposed. Three archaeological strata were identified: Stratum III of the Hellenistic period, in which three phases were identified; Stratum II of the Crusader period, which consist of two phases, and Stratum I of the modern era (Fig. 2). In addition, walls that could not be dated (W107, W117, W151, W189, W190), were uncovered in the middle of the excavation.
Stratum III (the Hellenistic period)
First Phase. A quarry was exposed in the kurkar ridge. Severance channels and stones that were not completely extracted indicate that large ashlars were hewn in the quarry (Fig. 3). Stone slabs that had been prepared and arranged for marketing were also found (Fig. 4).
The quarry was covered with a layer of yellowish reddish eroded kurkar that contained many fragments of pottery vessels.
Second Phase. Part of the quarry was converted into rooms or cellars of buildings above them, which were not preserved. Some of the quarry’s sides were made smooth and became walls of rooms, while the smoothed bottom of the quarry became the floor. The walls were founded on the floor of the quarry and were built of ashlars in the box-like method with fieldstone fill in-between, typical of Phoenician construction.
Two walls (W123, W196) of one room were exposed in the western part of the excavation. Wall 123 was oriented north–south and both of its ends adjoined the bedrock (Fig. 5). Wall 196, oriented east–west, had been damaged when the foundation trench of the pillar (W200) was dug in the Crusader period. In addition, three wall stumps were discovered in the north of the excavation (W192) and in the southeast of the excavation (W710, W712), which were also built in the box-like method. Walls 710 and 712 delimited a room that was also founded on the bedrock (Fig. 6).
Third Phase. Three walls (W726, W738 and W753) built of small fieldstones were exposed in the east of the excavation. The bases of Walls 726 and 738, founded on the bedrock, were exposed, whereas the bottom of W753 was not completely excavated (Fig. 7). The size and construction of the walls resembled contemporaneous walls that were revealed c. 50 south of the excavation (‘Atiqot 50:155, Figs. 2–4).
The finds from the three phases of Stratum III included local and imported pottery vessels. Noteworthy among the local vessels is the variety of cooking vessels and Phoenician amphorae, which are recognized by their twisted handles; four of the handles are stamped with seals in Phoenician script. The imported pottery vessels included amphorae from Rhodes, Kos, Chios and Knidos. Stamped impressions dating from the third to the middle of the second centuries CE were found on many of the amphora handles. Fish and hemispherical bowls, some of which were mold-made were found, as well as figurines, including those of Dionysus (width 7 cm, height 5 cm; Fig. 8).
Stratum II (the Crusader period)
Remains of two buildings were exposed in the west and south of the excavation. The foundations of three wide, massive pillars (W160, W179, W200; width 1.6–3.0 m; Fig. 9), which were part of a large building that did not survive, were exposed in the west of the excavation. The pillars were built of three rows of large ashlars, bound with mortar and founded on the Hellenistic quarry; two foundation courses were preserved of the pillars, as well as two–three upper courses. The foundations of the walls were dug into the Hellenistic stratum and their foundation trenches could be discerned in the sections next to them. Foundations of a square building (length per side 11.0–11.2 m, width 0.6–0.7 m; Fig. 10) that consisted of two phases were exposed in the southern part of the excavation.
First Phase. The entire length of the southern (W416) and northern (W118) walls were exposed. The northern part of the eastern wall (W433) was mostly exposed, although it was severely damaged during the modern era. The northern part of the western wall (W134, W171) and a segment of the southern part (W415) were preserved.
Each wall was built of pillars and two constructive arches. The pillars, founded on the bedrock, were built of roughly hewn kurkar and the arches—of beach pebbles. In places where the bedrock was high, the arches were set on top of it, i.e., part of W433 and W171 (Fig. 11).
Second Phase. Parts of the building’s foundation were apparently damaged during the Crusader period, particularly W118 and the northern part of W134. A pillar (W153) was subsequently built in the corner formed by Walls 118 and 134. The eastern side of the pillar adjoined a half-arch of dressed stones incorporated in W118 (Fig. 12). The original arches incorporated in W118 were canceled. It seems that the foundations of two inner walls (W169, W188), built inside the fill from the Hellenistic period should also be ascribed to this phase.
Most of the pottery vessels recovered from the foundations and outside the building were from the Hellenistic period. Several potsherds dating to the Crusader period were found above a floor that was exposed south of W169 and in the foundation trench of W118. The building is dated to the Crusader period based on the construction method, the mortar in W118 and the pottery vessels.
Stratum I—the Modern Era
A private house was built in the southeastern corner of the area in the modern era. Based on aerial photographs, it seems that the house was built after 1946. Some of the building’s remains were removed prior to the excavation and other parts of its foundations were exposed during the excavation. Part of the building was founded on the Hellenistic quarry from the first phase of Stratum III.
The excavation exposed a quarry from the Hellenistic period, which utilized the high kurkar ridge. The quarry probably operated at the beginning of the period. During this period and after the hard bedrock was exhausted, part of the quarry was reused as rooms or cellars. Walls built in the Phoenician method of box construction were founded in the quarry and its own sides were incorporated in the rooms. The third phase consisted of structures built of fieldstones, whose foundation was only exposed. Remains of two buildings ascribed to the Crusader period were excavated: a massive structure of which three pillars survived, and a square structure whose foundations were preserved and in which two phases were identified.
Numerous potsherds from the Persian period were discovered in the excavation, including fragments of clay figurines (sixth–fifth centuries BCE; Fig. 13), as well as potsherds from the Roman and Ottoman periods, which point to activity in the region during these periods.