Water System I
The Early Phase (Channels A, B). A section of a water system (length 55 m) that conveyed water from north to south was exposed. The beginning of the system was at a fount (c. 2.5×5.0 m; today blocked with fieldstones) whose water flowed to a channel (A; length 15 m, width c. 0.25 m, depth 0.4 m; Fig. 5). Channel A, built of fieldstones and roughly hewn stones, was covered; today, the covering stones are preserved on just the southern part of the channel (Fig. 6). This channel led via a small opening (Fig. 7) to an installation (L32; 1.6×2.1 m, depth 0.9 m; Fig. 8) that was built of stones, some of which were ashlars in secondary use. The installation was used to raise the water and convey it to another channel (B) by way of a hewn slot that was built in a stone at the top of the installation’s southern wall (Fig. 9). Channel B sloped toward the south and only the foundation wall of the channel was preserved (length 24 m, width 0.8 m, preserved height c. 0.5 m; Fig. 10). The wall was built of fieldstones and ashlars in secondary use. It sank into marshy alluvial soil that had formed there in the wake of flooding caused by the construction of a dam and flour mill by the Templars in the early thirteenth century CE (Shaked 2000:71–72).
The Late Phase (Channel C). Amassive wall that served as a foundation of a water channel (C; length 31 m, width 0.8 m, height 0.8 m; Figs. 11, 12) was exposed. The northern part of the wall was founded on the wall of Channel B and its southern part was placed on alluvial soil. It was built of fieldstones and roughly hewn stones, firmly bonded together with especially hard mortar. Scant remains of hydraulic plaster were discovered on the wall. It seems that this wall was also used as a dam on the bank of a water reservoir, which was created as a result of a dam built by the Templars.
Pottery from the Persian, Hellenistic, Roman, Byzantine and Crusader periods was discovered in the excavation of the system. Pottery fragments from the Crusader period (second half of the twelfth century and the thirteenth century CE) were discovered in Installation 32, including two imported bowls (Fig. 13:1, 2) and a cooking pot (Fig. 13:3).
Water System II (Channel D)
Sections of a water channel (length c. 120 m, inner width 0.2 m, depth c. 0.25 m; Fig. 14), built of fieldstones and roughly hewn stones, were exposed ; it was lined on the interior with gray lime-based hydraulic plaster, applied to a layer of potsherds whose date ranged from the Persian to the Crusader periods (Fig. 15). The channel adjoined the northern wall of Installation 32 and continued alongside it.In addition, it passed above the southern covered section of Channel A so that both could operate simultaneously. The construction of Channel D above Channel A indicates that it was built after Channel A, although they probably also operated together. A horizontal tectonic fault was discovered in the middle of the channel, which caused the eastern part of the channel to shift c. 0.5 m to the north. Potsherds dating from the Persian to the Crusader periods were discovered in the excavation of the channel, similar to the finds in WS I. In addition, a coin of Trajan struck at the ‘Akko mint (98–117 CE; IAA 141693) was discovered close to the surface.
The two exposed water systems were mutually independent and built in the Crusader period; they evidently operated simultaneously. First, WS I was built for the purpose of conveying fresh water from the fount (rather than the polluted water from the lake) above the wall of the dam, which was built nearby for the benefit of the Templar village residents situated there and the flour mill. In a later phase, WS II was built by the Hospitaller Order, possibly for the purpose of irrigating their fields that extended to the east. The existence of two separate water systems, which served the two neighboring and rival orders, is in keeping with the spirit of the treaty signed between them in 1231 CE. The treaty was meant to permit the normal operation of the two flour mills. The Templar Order was granted permission to store water from Nahal Na‘aman and improve and raise the banks of their mill’s reservoir, which was situated in the territory of the Hospitaller Order, on condition that the level of the water they collected in the improved reservoir did not rise above an agreed-upon mark on the wall of the Hospitaller mill (Shaked 2000:65). The operation of the two water systems, which might have resulted from this treaty, indicates a period of calm in the ongoing conflict between the two orders throughout the thirteenth century CE.