Table 1. Strata and dating
Late Ottoman (Bosnian)
Crusader (Louis IX)
Crusader (pre-Louis IX)
Late Byzantine–Early Umayyad
Late Byzantine
Early Byzantine
Late Roman
Early Roman
The southern area (west of Tower 1; Fig. 2, colored blue)
Byzantine period (Strata IX–VIII). Part of a mosaic floor was discovered in a single square that cut through a fill layer below the Crusader glacis wall. The floor featured a geometric pattern consisting of a network of black and red squares framing rhomboids made of black, gray and brown tesserae (Fig. 3). Based on the finds in the accumulation layer on the floor, it was in use until the end of the Byzantine period (sixth–seventh centuries CE).
Crusader period (Stratum III). Pottery sherds dating to the thirteenth century CE, were discovered above and below the Crusader floor, and in layers south of Tower 1. In addition, probes dug next to the foundations of the western wall of Tower 1, revealed that the wall had a number of phases (Fig. 4), raising the possibility that the tower dating to the time of Louis IX, may have been based on an earlier structure.
The moat area (Fig. 2, colored orange)
Hellenistic–late Byzantine periods (Strata XIV–VIII). In the middle of the moat, southeast of the Crusader bridge pier foundations, remains of walls and an abutting dark layer, dated to the Hellenistic period, were exposed. To the northeast of the pier, remains of a wall whose construction date was not established, and a marble column fragment, were uncovered. Around and below the pier, an accumulation layer of sand containing meager ceramic finds from the Hellenistic (second century BCE), Roman (first century CE) and Byzantine (fifth–seventh centuries CE) periods, was unearthed.
Crusader period (Stratum III). Trial sections excavated around the bridge pier uncovered in the center of the moat in the 1959–1961 and the 1990s excavations (Porath 2011:307), determined that only one course of the pier was extant above the foundation. The pier foundation is rectangular (1.60 × 4.05 m), and slightly wider than the pier itself.
The northern area (Fig. 2, colored green)
In the northern area that was bounded by a modern road on the north and west, and by the northern counterscarp wall on the south, remains from five periods were discovered.
Hellenistic period (Stratum XIV). At the southern end of the area, north of the Stratum III Crusader counterscarp and beneath the Stratum XI wall foundations and floors, the southern face of a fieldstone wall reinforced by ashlar piers at regular intervals, was exposed (Fig. 5). This construction technique, designated the ‘Phoenician ashlar-pier style’, is characteristic along the coastal plain from the tenth to the second centuries BCE. Sherds from the third–second centuries BCE were retrieved around the wall’s foundations.
Roman period (Stratum XI). A corridor (length c. 13 m, width c. 4 m; Figs. 6, 7), paved with a high-quality polychrome mosaic, was uncovered below the Stratum VIII building complex. The mosaic comprised several panels, six of which were unearthed, four featuring geometric patterns and two depicting human images; an inscription was incorporated in each panel. The remains indicate that the mosaic extends north and south beyond the excavation limits. The mosaic was severely damaged by the construction in the Byzantine period. West of the corridor, a drainage channel was found, as well as the floor of an adjacent room, of which only the foundation remained.
Byzantine period (Strata IX–VIII). A large and impressive building complex, only a small part of which was excavated (17 × 20 m; Fig. 7), was built on top of the dismantled Roman period building. In the west, the complex included a plaza, paved with large marble slabs. To the east of the plaza, a stoa (width c. 4.8 m), paved with a white mosaic, was unearthed. The stoa was roofed with clay tiles, hundreds of which were found in the collapsed debris on the floor. Four of the marble columns (length 5.2 m), including capitals and bases, of the stoa’s western colonnade, were discovered. The columns were found fallen on the floor of the building (Fig. 8). Another column, whose base had been robbed in antiquity, was found to the north of the columns. Three column bases from the stoa’s eastern colonnade were found in situ, along with two fallen columns, one with its capital (Figs. 7, 9). Two large rooms, bounded by massive walls incorporating piers, were uncovered to the east of the stoa, overlying the Stratum XI mosaics. Parts of the second story floor, which did not survive, but was supported by arches resting on the piers protruding from the walls, were found in the collapsed debris on the floors of the rooms. The function of this complex has not yet been clarified, but there is no doubt that it was a public building extending over a large area. The eastern rooms may have been shops, as evidenced by benches found along the walls that separated the rooms. After the Byzantine period and the Muslim conquest, the building was destroyed, and the columns collapsed. The entire area was covered with a fill containing a wealth of finds; this fill apparently originated in the refuse dump of the Byzantine city.
Abbasid period (Stratum V). In the southern corner of this area, a stone-lined square installation, that had been dug into the fill covering the Byzantine period building complex, was unearthed (Fig. 9).
Crusader period (Stratum IIIa). In the reign of Louis IX, the moat was dug south of the excavated area, and the counterscarp was built, damaging all the previous strata, including the mosaic floors from the Roman and Byzantine periods.
The Roman period building, adorned with polychrome mosaics featuring geometric patterns and figures, that was uncovered beneath the Byzantine period building complex, indicates that a fine large building occupied this insula in the second or third century CE. The excavation limits precluded determining whether this was a public building, or a private residence belonging to one of Caesarea’s wealthy citizens. The remains of the impressive Byzantine period building complex uncovered in the northern area, including the marble-paved plaza and the roofed, mosaic-paved passageway lined with shops, attest to the presence of a large public complex.