Stratum III was exposed in a small probe in Sq C1 (Fig. 4). At a depth of 2 m below the modern surface, a small patch of a stone floor (L315) was found sealed under heavy alluvial sediment devoid of finds (thickness 0.5 m; Fig. 5). Floor 315 was composed of small, angular limestone and basalt stones mixed with potsherds and flint chips.
The limited exposure of Stratum III resulted in a small pottery sample; nevrtheless, several pottery types in this assemblage are significant for dating this stratum to the Early Bronze Age IA. These include the gray-burnished ware bowls with flattened knobs or protuberances (Fig. 6:1–7), classified as Type 1 by Wright (1958) and as Sub-Type 1a by Braun (2013:73); a red-slipped, small incurved bowl with a rounded rim (Fig. 6:8); a large red-slipped bowl with an inverted rim (Fig. 6:9); holemouth jars with a tapered rims (Fig. 6:10–11); and holemouth jars with thickened ledge-like rims bearing a rope decoration (Fig. 6:12–13); a red-slipped flaring rim jar (Fig. 6:14); and the base of a small jar bearing a red-painted band decoration (Fig. 6:15). This small but significant pottery assemblage enables us to date the Stratum III occupation securely to the EB IA.
Stratum II. Meager remains were exposed in two probes (Sqs C1, C3). In Sq C3, a living surface (L312; Fig. 7) was discerned under a sterile accumulation of alluvial sediment (thickness 0.5 m). Associated with this floor were potsherds, flint items and animal bones, representing settlement debris of this stratum. This stratum was also documented in the section of a probe in Sq C1 that displayed a small stone floor (L314) at a comparable level as L312; likewise, it was sandwiched between two sterile alluvial accumulations featuring carbonate nodules. These sequences indicate that this part of the site was repeatedly flooded (see Fig. 5).
The limited pottery assemblage from Stratum II includes vessel types dating from both the EB IA and the EB IB. Of the illustrated gray-burnished bowls (Fig. 8:1, 2), one has a sinuous line (Fig. 8:2) associated with Wright’s Type 1 and Braun’s Sub-Type 1b (Braun 2013:75). Additional vessels include a straight-sided, red-slipped bowl (Fig. 8:3), two gutter-rimmed, red-slipped bowls (Fig. 8:4, 5) and two thickened-rim holemouth jars (Fig. 8:6, 7). A holemouth jar with a thickened, ledge-like rim bearing a rope decoration (Fig. 8:8) is also indicative of the earlier phase of the EB I. Other vessels include a storage jar with a flaring rim (Fig. 8:9) and a small black-slipped jar or jug (Fig. 8:10), as well as ledge handles (Fig. 8:11, 12) and circular reworked sherds (Fig. 8:13–15). This small repertoire comprises EB IA types, such as the gray-burnished ware and the ledge-rim holemouth, along with the gutter-rimmed bowls that are typical EB IB vessels. The possibility of residual or intrusive sherds from the Strata III and I deposits should be considered, despite the isolation of the settlement accumulation belonging to this stratum.
Stratum I was the most extensively excavated stratum, yielding three sections of stone floors of varying thickness (L313 in Sqs C1/2—0.3 m thick; L309 in Sq C3—0.3–0.7 m thick; L310 in Sq C4—0.4 m thick; Figs. 9–11), extending throughout the excavated area and sloping down to the east; they were unearthed under an overburden of alluvial soil. The floors were composed of small to medium-sized angular stones, mostly of limestone, although a number of basalt chunks could be discerned. A rich assemblage of potsherds and flint items was imbedded in these floors, creating what appeared to be a series of inseparable—partially merged, partially superimposed—stone floorings (Fig. 12); these suggest that Stratum I comprises several phases. Whether these floors were connected and belong to a single architectural feature cannot be determined. Overlying the stone floors were three barely distinguishable circular stone features (L304 [Fig. 13] and L307 overlying Floor 313; L316 overlying Floor 309). Finds from Stratum I include a rich ceramic assemblage, flint items, ground stone implements, broken animal bones and fragments from carbonized seeds.
The pottery dates the occupation of Stratum I to the EB IB, and is comparable to the assemblages from Areas A and B. It consists of a large variety of bowls: gray-burnished bowls, including one with an outturned rim and a sinuous line (Fig. 14:1; Wright 1958: Type 1) and another with a carinated body and rim (Fig. 14:2; Wright 1958: Type 3), both similar to bowls previously unearthed at the site (Braun 1985: Fig. 19:1–10); small bowls with everted rims (Fig. 14:3, 4); a red-slipped, straight-sided bowl (Fig. 14:5); and small, red-slipped bowls with a gutter rim, which either have incurving walls (Fig. 14:6, 7) or are open with a ledge-like rim (Fig. 14:8). This last group is the most characteristic vessel of the Jezreel Valley during the EB IB (Braun 2013:83; e.g., ‘En Shaddud [Braun 1985: Fig. 16] and Afula [N. Getzov, pers. comm.]). Other red-slipped bowls have either a triangular rim (Fig. 14:9, 10), an incurving wall with a flat rim (Fig. 14:11, 12) or an inverted overhanging rim (Fig. 14:13); a red-slipped conoid projection (Fig. 14:14) belongs to this third group (Braun 1985:8–10). The large bowls have an inverted rim and an interior gutter (Fig. 15:1), an exterior ridge (Fig. 15:2–4) or a conoidprojection (Fig. 15:5). The largest, krater-like bowls have inverted rims and spouts (Fig. 15:6–7), indicating that they were used for preparing and serving food.
The holemouth vessels from Stratum I have either a tapering rim (Fig. 15:8–9; cf. Braun 1985: Fig. 21:10–14) or a ridged rim, in which case they lack surface treatment (Fig. 15:10–13; cf. Braun 1985: Fig. 22:1–7). A fine ware holemouth has a squared rim and an uplifted ledge handle (Fig. 15:14). Additional vessels include a high-necked jar with a flaring rim, probably an amphoriskos or a gourd jar similar to those found in Areas A and B (Fig. 16:1; Braun 1985: Fig. 20:1–5); a small, closed, red-painted vessel (jug? Fig. 16:2); a straight necked jar (Fig. 16:3); red-slipped, short-necked jars (Fig. 16:4–6) comparable in form to vessels from Areas A and B (Braun 1985: Fig. 20:8–14); as well as decorated and plain rounded-rim pithoi (Fig. 16:7–9) and bow-neck pithoi (Fig. 16:10–12); a base of a closed vessel bearing red painted lines on its exterior (Fig. 17:1); ledge handles (Fig. 17:2–4) and red-slipped loop handles with parallel oblique incisions (Fig. 17:5, 6); and a single red-slipped bent spout from a teapot (Fig. 17:7). A number of circular recycled potsherds were fabricated from plain vessels and from sherds bearing red slip (Fig. 17:8–11).
The pottery assemblage from Stratum I enables a secure dating of this stratum to the EB IB. The significance of this assemblage toward investigation of settlement patterns of both the site and the Jezreel Valley during this period is increased considering the employment of total sieving of all settlement debris.
The stone finds include a limestone spindle whorl (Fig. 18:1), as well as a weight (Fig. 18:2) and three grinding-stone fragments (Fig. 18:3–5) made of basalt. Most of the flint items uncovered in the excavation were from this stratum. Their analysis (see Appendix) revealed the well-known pattern of on-site flint production for ad-hoc flake tools alongside the acquisition of specialist-produced Canaanean blades.
The excavated settlement remains at Area C are limited to a series of stone floors along the margins of the site, with no evidence of built structures. The three strata identified in the excavation were separated by thick sedimentation caused by periodic flooding that covered this part of the site, suggesting that the inhabited part of the site shrunk during such wet episodes. These thick alluvial sedimentation phases raise the possibility that what was identified in Areas A and B as virgin soil below Stratum II (Braun 1985:12, 27, Figs. 9, 10) may in fact be alluvial soil that overlies earlier occupation phases.
A comparison of the pottery assemblages from Areas A and B (Braun 1985: Figs. 1427) with that of Area C suggests that the settlement remains in Areas A and B are contemporary with Stratum I in Area C, dated firmly within the Early Bronze Age IB. The Area C probes revealed earlier remains, Strata II and III. The limited assemblages from these strata include vessel types indicative of settlement during the Early Bronze Age IA.
Despite the small size of the excavation in Area C, its findings contribute to our understanding of the ancient site of ‘En Shaddud and allow a number of observations regarding settlement size and chronology. Area C is located at the southernmost fringes of the EB I settlement, as suggested by the stone floors alongside the absence of walls. Further evidence for this comes from the extensive set of trenches examined in the fields c. 80 m to the south, where no ancient remains were found. Remains of domestic units belonging to the EB I settlement were unearthed in previous excavations: Raban exposed five apsidal structures with pebble floors erected along the riverbed, which he identified as part of a “farming village” (IAA archives; Arie 2011:262263, Plan 9.4.2); additional units were exposed in Areas A and B (Braun 1985:1228), 200 m north of Area C. Thus, we can reconstruct the EB I spring-based lowland site of ‘En Shaddud as a village with dispersed domestic units covering an area of at least 210 dunams (Fig. 19). Whether the settlement occupied the mound summit as well cannot be determined.
To conclude, it seems that the initial settlement at the EB I ‘En Shaddud site should be dated to the EB IA, as suggested by the small but significant pottery assemblage retrieved from Stratum III in Area C. The settlement continued into the EB IB, as evinced by the assemblages of Strata II and I in Area C, which apparently correspond with Strata II and I in Areas A and B. Following the abandonment of the EB IB settlement, the occupation at the site was confined primarily to the mound of Tel Shaddud, with no later in-situ ancient remains in Areas A–C.