In November 2015 a trial excavation was conducted on the southwestern slopes of Tel Gerisa (Permit No. A-7547; map ref. 181928-71/666343-94), prior to the construction of kindergartens. The excavation, undertaken on behalf of the Israel Antiquities Authority and financed by the Ramat Gan Municipality, was directed by D. Golan, with the assistance of D. Abu Salah (area supervision), V. Essman and Y. Shmidov (surveying and drafting), M. Shuiskaya (pottery drawing), C. Ben Ari and A. Dagot (GPS), Y. Amrani and E. Bachar (administration), Y. Marmelstein (aerial photography) and L. Rauchberger (antiquities inspection and consultation). Additional assistance was rendered by M. Ajami, D. Barkan, A. Yonish, Y. Arbel and Y. Nagar.
Eight squares were opened (Fig. 2): one in the north of the area (D3), six in the center (F5, G5, F6, G6, F7, G7) and one in the south (H12). In Sq D3 remains of a wall aligned in a northeast–southwest direction were found in clay soil mixed with sand, at a depth of 1.15 m (see Fig. 2). The wall was built of a single course of small fieldstones and was preserved to the height of its foundation. Several pottery sherds from the Iron IB–IIA (L115), including a cooking pot (Fig. 3:3), were found near the wall.
A habitation level was exposed in the center of the area at a depth of c. 20 cm, above a layer of kurkar. Pottery sherds dating to the Iron IIA were exposed on the habitation level, including a cooking pot (Fig. 3:4) and a jar (Fig. 3:5) and a number of sherds from the Late Bronze II, some of which were Cypriot imports such as a white slipped bowl (Fig. 3:2). In addition, several sherds ascribed to the Abbasid period were found including a jug (Fig. 3:6). In Sq F6 an installation was exposed that was probably a winepress (L109; Fig. 4) and in Sq G7 a cluster of stones (L119) was uncovered that was most likely collapsed remains, without any datable finds.
The installation was dug into a layer of kurkar
sand and was built of small fieldstones bonded with mortar. A circular collecting vat that was plastered on the inside (outer diam. c. 1.85 m, inner diam. c. 1.45 m, depth 0.94 m) was all that was preserved of the installation. Four layers of plaster (each c. 1 cm thick) were documented inside the installation. Body fragments of a jar were found in a sump (diam. 0.37 m, depth 0.18 m) at the bottom of the installation. Similar installations are known from other Iron II sites located on the central coastal plain: at Rishon Le-Z
iyyon (Segal 2000
; Arbel 2009), Lod (Yannai and Marder 2000), Yafo (L. Rauchberger, pers. comm.) and Tel Qasile (Ayalon 1994).
Remains of a tomb (L114) from the Middle Bronze IIB were found in Sq H12. It seems that the tomb was a pit grave (length 2.2 m, width 0.7 m, depth 0.7 m) and was hewn in an east–west direction in a layer of friable kurkar. No bones were found in it and they may have disintegrated as a result of a known phenomenon involving the acidity of the kurkar bedrock (Y. Nagar, pers. comm.). Several vessels were found in the tomb, including a carinated bowl (Fig. 4:1). Northwest of the tomb was a small pit that was hewn in the kurkar (L112); body fragments of a jar dating to the Iron Age were found inside it.
The excavation is important because it documents the utilization of the southwestern slopes of Tel Gerisa during different periods: in the Middle Bronze Age when it was used for burial and in the Iron Age when it was farmed.
Arbel Y. 2009. Rishon Le-Ziyyon, Sand Dunes. HA-ESI 121
Ayalon, E. 1994. Iron Age Winepresses around Tell Qasile. In: Zeevy, R., ed. Israel - People and Land. (Eretz Israel Museum Yearbook, New Series 7-8:53-66. Bar-Adon Book) (Hebrew with English summary).
Segal O. 2000. Rishon Le-Ziyyon ESI 20:66*–67*.
Yannai E. and Marder O. 2000. Lod. HA-ESI 112:63*–65*.