Stratum II—the Roman period (first–third centuries CE)
Rock-cuttings. Three locations in which ashlars were quarried from the limestone rock (Fig. 1) were uncovered. In one of them there were quarrying marks of a large boulder that was partly cut, but still attached to the rock. The artifacts found in the quarrying locations date to the Roman period, and include fragments of clay lamps, cooking pots, kraters and jars. Similar finds are known elsewhere in the Lower Galilee and date to the Early Roman period. Several fragments of soft limestone bowls, which are characterize Jewish population, were discovered.
A Cistern and Underground Cavities. A rectangular shaft hewn in hard bedrock and filled with soil was exposed; a recess around the lip of the shaft was probably intended to accommodate a cover, and next to the shaft was a hewn trough. The shaft led to a bell-shaped cistern (max. diam. c. 3 m, excavated depth 2.85 m). The narrow upper part of the cistern was hewn in hard limestone rock, while its wide, lower part, was hewn in soft chalk. Scant finds, mainly Roman-period pottery, tesserae, fragments of glassware and several pottery sherds dating to the Early Byzantine period, were recovered from the accumulated soil that filled the cistern. Two openings were documented in the walls of the cistern: The upper one faced south toward a narrow tunnel (Fig. 2) and the lower was wide and had irregular shape. The two openings seem to indicate that the cistern’s walls had collapsed in the north and northeast. Other cavities whose ceiling had collapsed were documented on the upper rock level near the cistern, to the north and probably also to the northeast.
Stratum I—the Byzantine period (fourth-sixth centuries CE)
Walls and Segments of Stone Pavement. Over the fill of the quarries, and the accumulations that covered collapsed underground cavities, segments of pavement and tops of walls (Fig 3) were uncovered. Above them, were finds that date to the Byzantine period, including imported bowls and fragments of jars and cooking pots characteristic of the Byzantine period. Similar finds were documented at Ramat Yishay and at nearby sites in the Lower Galilee. A pavement of large ashlars was exposed over a rock-cutting in the high area in the west. A pavement of small and medium stones randomly set above a fill of stones of various sizes, was discovered in the high area in the east. The fill under the pavement contained several basalt grinding vessels: a bowl fragment, and fragments of a lower and a round upper millstones.
The remains that were uncovered and documented date to the Roman and Byzantine periods, and extended over a large area, beyond the baundaries of the excavation. They constitute an important contribution to our understanding of the scope of the settlement at Ramat Yishay in general, and in particular in the southern part of the settlement, an area that was not covered by accumulations of later periods. The fragments of stone vessels and the characteristic features of the underground systems, seem to indicate a Jewish settlement in this part of the site during the Roman period. If the industrial-agricultural installation will eventually turn out to be part of the building from the Roman period, it would be possible to interpret the building as a farmhouse, which in turn will add to our understanding of the agricultural system in the area. If the winepress that was exposed in 1982 (Permit No. A-1151) can be associated to the complex of buildings that dates to the Byzantine period, it will support our belief that the farm continued to exist and remained productive in this period also.