Stratum II (Roman period). Production debris of a pottery workshop, which was probably located nearby, was exposed in Sqs A–B/2–3 (c. 10 × 10 m). The soil in this area (L150) was orange, burnt and hard. Pieces of clay kiln-walls and fragments of pottery vessels, most of them burnt and deformed, were scattered throughout the area. The pottery finds included several fragments of jars from the Hellenistic period (Fig. 4:1, 2) and numerous sherds from the Early Roman period (first century CE), among them bowls (Fig. 4:3, 4) and bag-shaped jars (Fig. 4:5–11; Jars 5 and 8 are burnt and deformed). In addition, a single fragment of a jar from the Byzantine period (Fig. 5:4), which is probably related to the building in Stratum I, was found. A handle of a cup made of soft chalk (Fig. 4:13), of a type characteristic of the stone vessels that were used by Jewish population during the Second Temple period, was also discovered in these squares. Besides the debris of the pottery workshop, metal debris was also discovered in these squares, indicating the proximity of a furnace for smelting metal. Based on the pottery finds, the workshop commenced production in the Hellenistic period, but its main activity was in the Roman period.
Stratum I (Late Byzantine period and Early Umayyad period). Remains of a rectangular structure (A; length over 6.5 m, width 5.3 m) were exposed. Modern construction destroyed its southern wall and its floor. Its walls (width 0.6–0.7 m) were constructed of undressed or roughly dressed kurkar that survived to a maximum height of five courses. An internal wall (W106) divided the building into two parts. The northern part (L151; 4.0 × 5.3 m) was a single space, which served as a courtyard or large room, while the southern part was divided into three long narrow cells (L113, L115, L153). Remains of a built rectangular installation (L111), were discovered in the southwestern corner of the northern part. A little pottery from the sixth–seventh centuries CE was discovered in the building, including bowl fragments (Fig. 5:1), part of a cooking pot (Fig. 5:2) and a jar rim (Fig. 3:2).
A corner of another building (B) was revealed c. 7.5 m northwest of Building A. The walls of the building (W107, W127) were constructed of undressed or roughly dressed kurkar stones, and preserved to a height of one course; the floor did not survive. Several fragments of bag-shaped jars dating to the Roman period (Fig. 4:12) were found near W107. A coin dating to the Umayyad period was found next to the building in Sq C1.
The coin: Locus 1010, Basket 103; IAA 135796
Umayyad (post reform; seventh–eighth centuries CE).
Obverse: amphora surrounded by the inscription لااله الا الله وحده.
Reverse: محمد \ رسول \ الله;; between the first and second row, a crescent.
Æ, fals, 3.77 g. 14 mm—is
Judging by the finds exposed in the vicinity of Building B it seems that the building should be dated to between the Roman period and the Umayyad period.
Several small pits that damaged the ancient remains were discovered in the excavation area. A fragment of a bowl from the Ottoman period (Fig. 5:5) was found in one of them, suggesting that they were dug in the Ottoman period.
A circular bronze mirror (L138; diam. c. 5.5 cm; Fig. 6) was discovered in the level that was disturbed in the modern era in Sq Z3. A similar mirror was found in a tomb from the Late Roman period near Tell er-Ras (Shukron 1999:154, Fig. 22:7).
The remains of the two strata that were discovered in the excavation are of a previously unknown settlement. The pottery workshop whose remains were exposed in Stratum II, was located in a convenient place near a source of water (Nahal Ha-Yarkon). The handle of the stone measuring-cup that was found in the same stratum may indicate that the settlement was inhabited by Jews. Based on the pottery, the site was presumably abandoned or destroyed during the Great Revolt (66–74 CE). The remains of the building (farmhouse?) from Stratum I were probably part of a small settlement from the end of the Byzantine period, which was destroyed in the Umayyad period. A scant quantity of finds from the Hellenistic and Ottoman periods was also discovered in the excavation, possibly reflecting activity during these periods.
The settlement that was located at the site can be added to the list of settlements from the Roman and Byzantine periods in the region (see Fig. 1; Bar-Nathan 2002). The settlements from the Roman period include al-Waqf (Kletter 2000), Ramat Ha-Hayal (Bar-Natan 2002), Tel el-Hashash (Bar-Nathan 2002) and Tell Qasile (Mazar 1993; Ayalon and Harpazi-Ofer 2007; Dagot 2007). Of these settlements it seems that only Ramat Ha-Hayal and Tell Qasile were relatively large. Tombs, settlement remains and a winepress from the Roman period were previously exposed in Bene Beraq, c. 0.4 km east of the excavation, on Kinneret Street (Glick 2010). The proximity between these two excavations may indicate that the remains belong to a single settlement, dating to the Roman period. The farmland in the area and the proximity to Nahal Ayalon offer conditions which are conducive to agriculture and to industry that requires water. Large settlements of the Roman period, such as Yaffo and Bene Beraq, and even Ramat Ha-Hayal and Tell Qasile, perhaps constituted a market for the local agricultural produce.
The distribution of the settlements did not change much during the Byzantine period. In the proximity of the excavation, a settlement, probably not a large one, was established in Hadar Yosef (Bar-Nathan 2002; Ajami 2005). It also seems that the settlements that were founded in the area during the Roman period expanded in the Byzantine period (Kaplan 1950; HA 1963; Mazar 1993; Elisha 2000; Gorzalczany 1996; Bar-Nathan 2002; Glick 2009; Buchennino 2010). The settlement whose remains were discovered in the excavation also survived into the Byzantine period, probably as an agricultural settlement.