The area was exposed prior to the excavation, in order to follow the built remains that were discovered in 2010. Remains of buildings were recorded, including massive walls, some of them constructed of ashlars. Most of these remains were destroyed by illegal development work that preceded the excavation.
Building remains, including segments of walls and floors were documented in the current excavation. They were probably part of a settlement that existed from the Late Roman period to the end of the Byzantine period, and apparently continued into the Early Islamic period.
Four squares (c. 100 sq m; Fig. 2) were opened in an area which was not heavily damaged by the development work prior to the excavation. Squares S1–S3 were placed on a northwest–southeast axis, 1.3–2.5 m south of a modern retaining wall that borders the area slated for construction. Another square (S4; c. 25 sq m) was opened slightly farther to the south.
Building remains were exposed directly beneath a layer of surface alluvium. They included remains of two floors and the tops of three or four wall segments. Floor F1 (c. 2.5 × 3.5 m; Fig. 3) was made of various sizes of fieldstone slabs (0.2–0.4 × 0.2–0.6 m), some of them dressed. Floor F2 was made of yellowish white calcareous material. Sections of raised sides along its southern and western edges indicate that it was probably part of an installation that did not survive. Remains of Floor F3 were partially uncovered in Sq S3. The wall segments are built of hewn, well finished fieldstones, and survived to a height of one or two courses. Two parallel walls (W20, W21; Fig. 4) aligned east–west were found, as well as another wall with the same orientation (W30; Fig 5), and yet another (W70; Fig. 6) whose relation to the other remains is unclear.
Varied finds were found in the soil that accumulated over the remains (L102, L201, L301, L302, L700), predominantly large quantities of pottery dating to the Late Roman, Byzantine and Early Islamic (Umayyad and Abbasid) periods. The pottery of the Late Roman and Byzantine periods included bowls (Fig. 7:1–3) and basins (Fig. 7:4–9). Pottery from the Late Byzantine–beginning of the Early Islamic period (sixth–seventh centuries CE) included cooking pots (Fig. 8:1, 2), jars (Fig. 8:3–6), a jug (Fig. 8:7), a lamp (Fig. 8:8) and roof tiles (Fig. 8:9–11), which testify to the nature of the roofing. The finds from the Early Islamic period included bowls (Fig. 9:1–4), a basin (Fig. 9:5), jars (Fig. 9:6, 7) and jugs (Fig. 9:8, 9). Some of these vessels are Khirbat Mafjar ware, which is associated with the Abbasid period only (Fig. 9:3, 7–9).
Glass vessels dating to the Late Roman period included fragments of beaker or a goblet, bowl fragments, fragments of a jug or juglet. Large white tesserae, characteristic of industrial mosaics and indicating the nature of the pavement, were also found. Other artifacts included a bronze funnel of the type used to fill oil lamps (Fig. 10), and a spindle whorl which is probably made of bone (Fig. 11).
Eleven coins were discovered in the fill and alluvium that covered the remains: a coin from the time of Antiochus III (198–187 BCE, ‘Akko mint; IAA 144825); a Hasmonean coin (IAA 144823); a coin dating to the reign of Agrippa I (41/42 CE; IAA 144830); a coin dating to the first revold against Rome (67/68 CE; IAA 144827); a blank flan from the Jerusalem mint, dating to the time of the Second Temple (IAA 144829); a coin from the time of Titus (Judaea Capta, 71–73 CE, Caesarea mint; IAA 144826); a coin dating to the second half of the third century CE (IAA 144820); a follis from the reign of Crispus 317–318 CE (Arles mint; IAA 144822); a coin dating to 330–341 CE (Alexandria mint; IAA 144824); one that apparently dates to 351–361 CE (IAA 144821); and a coin from the fourth century CE (IAA 144828).
Meager and poorly preserved remains were uncovered in this small trial excavation. They probably extend further east, beneath the alluvium. It is difficult to draw a clear plan on the basis of the wall segment, but they seem to have belonged to a building with several rooms, which was part of a settlement or a farmhouse. The building was probably first constructed in the Hellenistic period, as indicated by the numismatic finds, and apparently remained in use in the Early and Late Roman periods. The nature of the building could not be ascertained, but the residents of Abu Ghosh refer to the place as “Deir” meaning monastery, suggesting that a monastery existed in this settlement during the Byzantine period. The glazed bowl (Fig. 9:1) and the Mafjar ware (Fig. 9:3, 7–9) indicate that the site remained occupied in the Abbasid period.