In September 2020, a salvage excavation was conducted in the orchards of Kibbutz Giv‘at ‘Oz in the Jezreel Valley (Permit No. A-8824; map ref. 219982–5/718999–9003), after antiquities were identified during the installation of an electricity pole. The excavation, on behalf of the Israel Antiquities Authority and funded by the Israel Electric Corporation, was directed by B. Tzin (field photography), with the assistance of Y. Yaakobi (administration), A. Ibrahim (photogrammetry), H. Tahan-Rosen and E. Dalali-Amos (plans and pottery scanning), R. Be’eri (guidance), Y. Tepper (scientific consultation), A. Shapiro (GIS and pottery-production technology data) and Y. Harel (preliminary inspections), as well as N. Shatil, B. Hanna and laborers from Kafr Manda.
The excavation was conducted approximately 0.8 km northwest of Tel Qedesh (Abu Qudeis) and c. 2.2 km southeast of Legio (Tepper 2017). A single excavation square yielded remains of a stone layer and fragments of bricks and roof tiles dated to the second century CE. Previous excavations at Giv‘at ‘Oz revealed a rock-hewn tomb that probably dates from the Roman period (Arav 1973).
After the surface level (L12; Figs. 1, 2) was removed, a stone surface (L15; Fig. 3) was identified that had been damaged by modern agricultural machinery. Surface 15 comprised of limestone and basalt fieldstones as well as fragments of bricks and roof tiles and evidently sloped and curved northeastward. Most of the stones retained signs of burning and some had been calcinated and turned to lime. Most of the finds consist of fragments of roof tiles (Fig. 4) and bricks (e.g., Fig. 5). Analysis of the bricks, which contain basalt inclusions, showed that they were manufactured by the Roman Legion (A. Shapiro, pers. comm.; Tepper 2017). Several potsherds found on dismantling the stone surface include the rims of two second-century CE jars (not drawn). Surface 15 was covered by a natural accumulation of streambed pebbles and river-gravel sediments, indicating that it was probably flooded after it fell into disuse.
The stone surface may be a remnant of an installation used for heating or possibly a refuse pit. The large quantity of roof tiles and bricks suggest a nearby kiln, because the finds do not appear to have been swept to the site from elsewhere. The finds contribute to an understanding of the activities of the Roman Legion that was stationed in the area in the second century CE.
Arav R. 1973. Graves at Giv‘at ‘Oz. HA 45:11 (Hebrew).
Tepper Y. 2017. Roof Tiles and Bricks Bearing Roman Legionary Stamps from Legio. ‘Atiqot 89:133*–140* (Hebrew; English summary, pp. 123–124).