Area A
Square I (Figs. 2, 3). Two parallel walls (W110, W114), apparently part of a residential building, were exposed. The walls, founded on a layer of sterile gray soil and built of basalt fieldstones, extended to the east and west, beyond the excavation limits. An opening, indicated by a limestone threshold (width 0.9 m), was discovered in the center of W110 (length 5 m, width 0.8 m). Only the northern face of W114 was exposed; its southern face was outside the excavation area. A floor made of hamra and pounded pottery sherds was discovered between the two walls (Unit 1). Overlaying the floor was a destruction layer, comprising stones that had toppled from the walls and large amounts of pottery sherds from the third and second centuries BCE. Two crushed jars from the second century BCE (Fig. 4) were discovered in situ in the destruction layer beside W114. Also found in this layer were 12 coins ascribed to the Hellenistic period: two Seleucid coins (IAA 117445, 117446), a coin of Alexander II (129–123 BCE; IAA 117447), a coin of Cleopatra (123–121 BCE; IAA 117443), a coin of Antiochus VIII (121 BCE; IAA 117444) and seven unidentified coins. A floor was exposed north of W110 (Unit II) which was similar to that revealed in Unit I south of the wall. A destruction layer composed of gray soil and basalt fieldstones was discovered above the floor in Unit II. The pottery sherds exposed in this layer date mainly from the third–second centuries BCE. They include two amphora handles that bear Rhodian seals from the second century BCE and unguentaria, dice and 25 coins (Fig. 5), all from the Hellenistic period: four Seleucid coins (IAA 117432, 117436, 117437, 117441), a coin of Antiochus VII (138–129 BCE; IAA 117442), three coins of Alexander II (129–123 BCE; IAA 117435, 117439, 117440), a coin of Cleopatra (122–121 BCE; IAA 117438), a coin of Ptolemy XI (122–121 BCE; IAA 117433), a coin of Antiochus VIII (125–121 BCE; IAA 117434) and 14 unidentified coins.
Square II (Figs. 6, 7) was located 20 m southwest of Square I. Remains of a residential building were exposed. They included part of a room (width 3 m) and a courtyard. The eastern part of the room extended beyond the limits of the excavation area. The walls of the structure (W102–W105) were founded on sterile gray soil. The bottom courses of the walls were built of basalt fieldstones. It seems that the upper courses of the walls were constructed of bricks, but these did not survive. The floors of the room and courtyard were made of packed crushed lime. Overlying them was a layer of burnt earth, probably the remains of bricks from the upper part of the walls. The walls of the building had evidently collapsed on the floors and broken apart as a result of the fire, remains of which were clearly visible in the brown earth. A hearth was discovered on the floor of the courtyard, near W103.
Area B
Square III (Figs. 8, 9). A wall (W302) and a floor that extended throughout the excavation square, probably part of a residential building, were exposed. Both were founded on sterile brown soil (Fig. 10). The wall (exposed length 3 m, width 0.6 m, preserved height 0.65 m) was constructed of basalt fieldstones; its northern part continued beyond the limits of the excavation. The floor was made of tamped brown alluvium. A concentration of fieldstones, probably a work surface, was discovered in the western part of the square. Above the floor was a destruction layer similar to that revealed in Area A. It included several fieldstones and brown earth that were probably the remains of crumbled bricks. In addition, pottery sherds that date mainly from the third–second centuries BCE were found, as well as ten coins from the Hellenistic period: a Seleucid coin that was minted in ʽAkko (173–150 BCE; IAA 147384), a coin of Antiochus VIII (121–111 BCE; IAA 147381) and eight unidentified coins. Above the destruction layer, particularly west of the wall, was a considerable accumulation of alluvium and a thick layer of travertine, both of which suggest that W302 delineated an open courtyard of a residential building that was located to its west. Two coins from the Byzantine period (IAA 147380, 147386) were discovered in the alluvium.
Square IV was situated 14 m south of Sq III. Layers of alluvium, brown soil mixed with some fieldstones were exposed and several pottery sherds that date mainly from the third–second centuries BCE. Six coins were found in these layers: a Seleucid coin (IAA 147385), a coin of Antiochus IV that was struck at the ʽAkko mint (173–118 BCE; IAA 147382), an autonomous coin (124–98 BCE; IAA 147383), a coin from the Byzantine period (IAA 147379) and two unidentified coins.
The excavation yielded bowls, kraters, cooking vessels, jars, amphorae and juglets, including imported vessels, that date mainly from the third–second centuries BCE. The bowls, which are mostly Eastern Terra Sigillata, include vessels decorated with reliefs of geometric and floral patterns (Fig. 11:1, 2), bowls with an inverted rim from the fourth–second centuries BCE (Fig. 11:3, 4) and a small bowl with a thickened rim and a carinated body (Fig. 11:5), as well as fish plates (Fig. 11:6) that first appeared in the third century and were popular during the second century BCE. Numerous kraters from the second half of the second century BCE were discovered; the upper part of their walls typically slopes outward toward a grooved rim (Fig. 11:7). The cooking vessels included open kraters (Fig. 11:8, 9) with a convex rim fit for a lid (Fig. 11:10) and horizontal or vertical handles. These vessels first appeared in the late fourth century BCE and were common during the second century BCE. Also found were closed cooking pots, some of which have a round body, a curved neck and a concave rim (Fig. 11:11–14). The jars have a thickened rim and curved or sloping shoulder (Fig. 11:15–17); they first appear in the late fourth – early third century BCE. The amphorae, which were imported from the Greek islands, included a vessel with a double handle (Fig. 11:18); numerous table amphorae (Fig. 11:19) are made of well-levigated clay. A large number of unguentaria of various sizes and types were also discovered at the site (Fig. 11:20); they all date from the second century BCE.
The excavation results indicate that the Hellenistic city of Nysa-Scythopolis flourished primarily in the second century BCE. The architectural remains discovered in three of the excavation squares were covered with destruction layers and collapsed stones, most probably evidence of the city’s conquest by Antigonus and Aristobulus, sons of John Hyrcanus, in 108–107 BCE (Fuchs 1983: 41). It seems that the settlement in this part of the city ceased to exist during the Hellenistic period, and that apart from the construction of monasteries and a city wall in the Byzantine period, building in this area was never renewed.