Square A yielded a leveled surface (L2, L3; Fig. 3) of small stream pebbles and stone fragments (max. length 5 cm). An accumulation of pottery sherds (c. 200 potsherds per sq m, max. depth 0.2 m), perhaps scattered intentionally, was found on the surface. The potsherds, belonging mainly to MB II storage vessels (Yasur-Landau, below).
Animal bones found on this surface included the femur of a goat or sheep and a few fragments of long bones representing two medium-sized mammals.
Tests and soil samples from drillings prior to the excavation revealed additional parts of the stone surfaces scattered with numerous pottery fragments (Fig. 2).
Square B yielded three strata of alluvial soil; their stratification suggests that they originated in an ancient lake or swamp; no early human activity was detected.
The Pottery
Assaf Yasur Landau
The small amount of diagnostic pottery sherds from the excavation consists of Middle Bronze Age types that are well known from the excavations at Tel Kabri. They include platter bowls (Fig. 4:1–3), a bowl (Fig. 4:4), a krater (Fig. 4:5), jars (Fig. 4:6–16) and a pithos (Fig. 4:17), as well as jugs and juglets (Fig. 4:18, 19). The main importance of this assemblage stems from it being the first to originate outside the fortified area of the city of Kabri, from an area that may have been part of the city’s agricultural hinterland. Many of the forms, such as the platter bowls and the dipper jug/juglet enjoyed a considerable longevity throughout the Middle Bronze sequence at the site. Other forms may be residual, such as the storage jar with a folded and molded rim, possibly originating as early as phase V of the renewed excavations, dated to the MBI–MBII transition. However, the bulk of the material is later: most of the storage jar rims, including those that are everted and rounded, belong to phases DW IV and III of the renewed excavations (i.e., Stratum 3 of the Kempinski/Niemeier excavations), dated to the MBII period (Yasur-Landau, Cline and Goshen 2014; Samet 2014). In terms of absolute chronology, the radiocarbon dating of Phases DW IV and III is the end of the eighteenth century and the very beginning of the seventeenth century BCE (Höflmayer et al. 2016).
In terms of function, it may not be coincidental that the vast majority of the sherds found belong to containers, mostly storage jars, with only three sherds of bowls. This may indicate that this pottery belonged to an assemblage with a focus on storage, perhaps in relation to nearby agricultural activity, rather than consumption of food and drink.
Despite its limited extent, the excavation offered a rare opportunity to investigate an occupation layer outside the walls of the settlement at Tel Kabri. Activity apparently was concentrated at a few points on leveled surfaces consisting of stones and small stream pebbles. The pottery assemblage reveals extensive use of storage vessels, and therefore it seems that the main activity involved commerce or agriculture that took place outside the walls of the settlement.