Two excavation squares were opened (Figs. 2, 3) that yielded sparse remains of walls and installations dated by the pottery finds to the Abbasid period (eighth–tenth centuries CE) and the Fatimid period (tenth–eleventh centuries CE). Two of the potsherds bear inscriptions (Atrash, below).
Previous excavations near the current excavation area uncovered walls from the Abbasid and Fatimid periods (eighth–eleventh centuries CE; Toueg and Torgë 2015 [Fig. 1: A-6490]), remains from the Fatimid period, and a clay pipe from the Ottoman period (Toueg 2016; Fig. 1: A-6617). Remains from the Early Islamic period and Mamluk tombs were excavated nearby in the past (Elisha 2010; Fig. 1: A-4854), as was a water system in the Pool of the Arches (Toueg and Arnon 2010; Fig. 1: A-5655).
Three sections of walls were excavated (W103, W116, W120). Wall 103 (length 3.0 m, width 0.5 m) was built on a north-south alignment and founded on debesh concrete with sand beneath it. Wall 116 (length 1.2 m, width 0.4 m) was built parallel to W103 and founded on hamra soil. Both walls were built of local fieldstones and preserved to a height of 0.5 m. Wall 120 (height 0.8 m, width 0.3 m) was built on an east-west alignment of a single course of small fieldstones and preserved to a height of 0.2 m. There were no signs of a floor abutting the walls. The excavation uncovered two installations (L106, L117). Installation 106 (Fig. 4) was made of a zir jar in secondary use with a clay pipe on its rim into which two more clay pipes were inserted, one inside the other. The installation was bedded on sand. Installation 117 (Fig. 5) included two narrow walls whose inner faces were coated with gray plaster; the walls were on the northern and western sides of an area containing an accumulation of sand. The installation was excavated to beneath its foundations without encountering a floor. A tabun (L109) was built into brown hamra soil at an elevation higher than that of the walls.
The excavation uncovered pottery finds representing a wide range of vessel types that were common in the region during the Abbasid and Fatimid periods. The Abbasid assemblage includes bowls (Fig. 6:1–4), one of which (3) has an Arabic inscription on its rim (below); a barbotine jug (Fig. 6:5); a grenade-shaped vessel (Fig. 6:6); and a jar handle (Fig. 6:7) stamped with an inscription in Arabic (below). The Fatimid assemblage includes bowls (Fig. 6:8, 9), a casserole (Fig. 6:10) and three types of jugs (Fig. 6:11–13). The excavation also yielded three oil-lamp fragments dating from the Abbasid and Fatimid periods (eighth–eleventh centuries CE; Fig. 7). Other finds include worn fragments of glassware, including bases, handles and body sherds, dating from the Abbasid and Fatimid periods (eighth–eleventh centuries CE; not drawn). Metal items recovered from the surface layer include nails, a ring and a belt buckle; they were not dated. Four coins were also recovered as surface finds: two Byzantine follis coins of Mauricius Tiberius from the city mint of Antioch (IAA 165888—L100, 587/588 CE; IAA 165890—L104, 583/584 CE), an Abbasid fals coin (IAA 165689—L108, 752 CE) and an unidentified coin (IAA 165691—L101).
The excavation recovered two Arabic inscriptions on pottery vessels. One of the inscriptions is on a ledge rim of a bowl (Fig. 8, see Fig. 6:3) glazed on the interior with an olive-green glaze spilling over the rim; the bowl is decorated with a pattern of interlacing lines that form circles near the rim. The bowl fragment was found on the surface. Bowls of this type have been discovered in Caesarea in the past and they are dated to the eighth–ninth centuries CE (Arnon 2008:35, Type 224, Pl. XI:1, 2). From the inscription on the rim of the bowl, the word محمد (Muhammad) is preserved and is probably part of the blessing: محمد رسول الله (‘Muhammad the Messenger of Allah’); alternatively, it may be the name of the owner of the pottery workshop, or the merchant who commissioned the vessels.
The second inscription was discovered in an oval seal stamped on the handle of a jar (Fig. 9, see Fig. 6:7) dated to the late eighth–early ninth centuries CE, from a soil fill near W103. The inscription has three rows:
The inscription indicates the name of the place where the jar was made (Deir Samuel) and the name of the merchant for whom it was made (Yousuf). In the past, an eighth-century CE pottery workshop was discovered at Deir Samuel that produced jars stamped with Arabic seals containing the place name and probably also the names of the merchants (Magen and Dadon 1999:68). Three jars bearing an identical inscription were discovered at Nebi Samuel (Sharon 2004:126), and another such jar was discovered to the north of Tel Lod (Haddad 2013:36*).
The excavation uncovered walls and installations dated by the accompanying finds to the Abbasid and Fatimid periods. Installation 106 was probably used to collect liquid beneath the floor of a structure that was not preserved. Installation 117 was apparently a drainage pit, based on the sand found in it. No floors were found associated with the installations and walls, or with the tabun located on a higher elevation. The excavated remains may belong to two settlement phases.