The excavation was conducted on a hill south of Qazrin, about 100 m southwest of the spring of ‘Ein Shuqayif. Surveys and excavations in the area have indicated settlement remains from the Chalcolithic to the Early Islamic periods. During the Byzantine period, the area was prominently Jewish in character, as evident from the remains of the settlement at Qazrin, its two synagogues and its cemeteries (Ma‘oz and Killebrew 1988; Urman 1995; Zingboym 2008; 2009; 2014; 2017). In the 1970s, Epstein documented a large dolmen field from the Intermediate Bronze Age Epstein (1985)—a widespread phenomenon in the northern and central Golan heights; several of these dolmens were excavated later (Smithline 2009).
The current excavation (100 sq m; Fig. 2) comprised five areas (approximately one square each): A, on the northern slope of the hill; B and C in the central upper part of the hill; D in the northwest; and E in the south. The excavation yielded settlement remains from the Roman and ‘Abbasid periods, as well as pottery from the Chalcolithic, Mamluk and Ottoman periods.
Area A (Fig. 3)
A line of basalt boulders and large stones (W101–W103) form what may be two separate walls or a single curving wall. A probe (L100) opened inside the curve encountered bedrock at a depth of 0.3 m. Among the small number of pottery sherds retrieved, only one handle fragment was diagnostic, and was dated to the late Chalcolithic period (Fig. 4:1). The walls do not reach bedrock, so it is impossible to determine if they belong to the same archeological horizon as the pottery.
Area B (Fig. 5)
Part of a large structure comprising three wide walls (W201–W203) and possibly two other walls (W209, W210) was uncovered. All the walls were built of large, partially hewn basalt blocks. Wall 202 is fenestrated (‘Korazin Windows’; Fig. 6), a building technique dating from the Roman and Byzantine periods and known at various sites in the Golan. The southern part of the structure had collapsed, and the walls are hardly traceable. The way the walls have tumbled, especially W209 (Fig. 7), may suggest that the collapse was the result of an earthquake.
The building was found covered with a layer of stone rubble (L211) and above it a layer of soil accumulation with stones (L205), both containing pottery sherds. Two chronologically distinct assemblages could be identified in the ceramic finds retrieved from these loci. The earlier one, dating from the Early Roman period, comprised a casserole rim (Fig. 4:6) and a fragment of a Herodian lamp (Fig 4:7). The later one, dated to the Abbasid period, comprised mostly domestic vessels: bowl and platter fragments with green, yellow and blue glaze (Fig. 4:8, 9), a handmade cooking pot (Fig. 4:10) and three fragments of ‘buff ware’ jugs (Fig. 4:11–13). Soil accumulation 205 also included a red-brown carnelian bead, diamond-shaped in section (Fig. 4:14), which could not be dated.
Distinguishing stratigraphically between these two phases of occupation was not fully possible. Nevertheless, the pottery retrieved from the soil fill that abutted the northern corner formed by Walls 202 and 203 (L206) included rims of Kefar Hananya bowls (Fig. 4:2–5), which along with the Early Roman pottery from the layer of rubble suggest that the structure was constructed in the first or second century CE. This stratum seems to include a layer of stones (L213), possibly a floor or a bedding in the corner formed by Walls 202 and 203. In the eastern corner formed by these two walls were meager remains of a pebble stone floor (L212) and a tabun (L208; Fig. 8), which seem to belong to the later phase of occupation. Tabun 208 yielded a single buff ware jug handle bearing a plastic decoration (Fig. 4:13), dated to the ‘Abbasid period (ninth–tenth centuries CE). To its west, in the corner formed by Walls 201 and 202 was another floor of the same elevation, which may have also belonged to the later phase of occupation.
Area C (Fig. 9)
Stratum III comprised the remains of a structure: s small segment of a paving (L306) made of large basalt stones, abutting the walls that enclose it on the south (W309) and east (W310); the walls were built of medium-sized fieldstones. The pottery on Floor 306, from the accumulation that covered it (L304) and from a level underneath it (L307) includes casserole fragments (Fig. 10:1, 2), cooking pots (Fig. 10:3, 4), a Kefar Hananya jar (Fig 10:5) and other jar fragments (Fig 10:6), a small juglet (Fig:10:7) and oil lamps (Fig 10:8, 9). All pottery within this stratum dates from the first century CE. Two fragments of oil lamps of this date (Fig. 10:10, 11) were found during topsoil removal.
Stratum II. The remains of stratum III were covered by collapsed stones and rubble, over which an alley was paved with large, flat fieldstones (L302; Fig. 11) and flanked by two walls (W301, W303). The two flanking walls were built of large fieldstones; W301 was constructed directly on top of W310 from stratum III and used a large part of it as a foundation. The sides of the two walls facing the alley were smooth. The lack of clean loci impeded the dating of this stratum, but a rough correspondence of the construction style with that in the other areas points to a date in the Early Islamic period.
Stratum I. A short, badly preserved wall segment (W305) of unclear date was ascribed to this stratum. One of its stones had a circular depression, possibly a hinge socket, although the stone may have been laid in the wall in secondary use.
Area D
Only the vague outline of a poorly preserved row of stones—possibly a wall—was observed, as well as some collapsed stones. The pottery retrieved included Roman, Mamluk and Ottoman body sherds, mixed with a large amount of modern debris. The remains could not be dated.
Area E
An extensive layer of stones was exposed 10 cm below topsoil. No architectural remains were found in the square, except for a row of stones exposed in the southwest corner, which may be cover-stones of a shallow grave. This element was not excavated.
The settlement remains at the site are part of a string of settlements identified around Qazrin, dating from the Early Roman period. The building remains show what may be evidence of earthquake damage. Known disastrous earthquakes in this area occurred in 363 CE and later. This phenomenon, noted also at the site of Fakhura (Zingboym and Avshalom-Gorni 2009), could explain the occupation gap between the Roman and the Early Islamic period. It seems that the settlement from the Abbasid period made use of the remains of the Roman-period walls that were still visible above surface. In areas where the excavation reached virgin soil or bedrock, sporadic pottery indicates human activity in the late Chalcolithic period (the Ghassulian phase).