Excavations have been conducted at the site since 1990, with many excavation areas opened in it (Fig. 1), revealing remains from the Pottery Neolithic period, the Early Bronze Age IB and the Early Bronze Age II (Golani 2003; 2006; 2013), as well as eight strata of a settlement that existed almost consecutively from the Persian to the Mamluk periods (Torgë and Sa‘id 2015).
Area Z was opened on a gentle southward-sloping gradient in the backyard of a residential building, near the western side of Area C (Golani 2006). Five squares were excavated (150 sq m; Fig. 2), revealing building remains from Early Bronze Age IB (Stratum 3, Phases 2 and 1), Early Bronze Age II (Stratum 2, Phases 3–1) and the Hellenistic period (Stratum 1).
Stratum 3—Early Bronze Age IB (Fig. 3)
Phase 2. In the northern part of the area, 1.9 m below the surface level, the sloping and fissured bedrock was uncovered. The bedrock was overlain by a fill (thickness 0.2 m) of compacted brown soil mixed with small and medium-sized fieldstones and abundant EB IB potsherds, which leveled the area for the construction of a building. The building’s remains comprised the inner face of two walls (W147, W148; Fig. 4) that formed a corner; the walls were preserved to the height of a single course. The walls were abutted by a floor made of tamped light-brown soil containing small fieldstones, potsherds, and fragments of bones and calm shells (Glycymeris).
A trial trench (L106; width 0.7 m) excavated in the southwestern part of the area revealed segments of three walls (W109, W130, W131) built of two rows of large fieldstones; the walls were preserved to the height of a single course and continued beyond the limits of the current excavation. Based on the ceramic finds and the walls’ elevation, they can be attributed to this phase.
Phase 1. Remains of three walls (W139, W145, W149) enclosing a rectangular room were uncovered above the walls of the earlier phase. Wall 139 was built of two rows of large fieldstones with a core of small and medium-sized fieldstones. The wall was preserved to a height of four courses and extends eastward and westward beyond the limits of the excavation. Only the inner row of Walls 147 and 149 was preserved, to a height of two courses; the walls abutted the upper courses of W139. Both walls continue northward, beyond the limits of the excavation and beneath walls from Stratum 2. The three walls from this phase were abutted by a floor made of soil (L146) mixed with small fieldstones and potsherds. A row of medium-sized fieldstones (W142) was uncovered in the southwestern corner of the room; its eastern face was abutted by part of a tamped crushed-limestone floor (L143).
Stratum 2—Early Bronze Age II
Phase 3 (Fig. 5). Two walls (W111, W115) uncovered in the northeastern part of the excavation area formed the northwestern corner of a rectangular building. The walls were founded on brown soil that probably accumulated at the site between EB IB and EB II, and they were built of two rows of large and medium-sized fieldstones; they were preserved to a maximum height of four courses. The lower course of the walls’ inner faces was abutted by a tamped earthen floor.
A fragmentary row of fieldstones (W153) revealed in the eastern part of the area had apparently divided the building into two rooms (I, II). It was uncovered in the building’s lower part, beneath grayish soil from Phase 2. This row of stones appears to be the eastern face of a broad wall whose western side was hidden beneath the wall from Phase 2 (W123). A short section of another wall (W136) is also attributed to this phase.
Phase 2 (Fig. 6). Remains of a building containing two rooms (I, II) whose walls (W111, W115, W123, W137) were built above the walls of the earlier layers were uncovered in the north of the area. The walls were built of two rows of large fieldstones with a core of small and medium-sized fieldstones; they were preserved to a maximum height of three courses. Wall 115 continues eastward beyond the limits of the excavation. The walls were abutted by tamped earthen floors. In the middle of Room I, the single course of a wall segment (W112) was uncovered; the wall’s eastern end incorporated the base of a stone pillar. The wall may have been a partition wall that divided the room into two parts, with the pillar base used to support its roofing. An intact jug was found lying on its side in the northern part of Room I. A broad wall (W120; width 1.8 m, length c. 3 m; Fig. 7) to the west of W111 was built of two rows of large fieldstones with a core of large and medium-sized fieldstones; it was preserved to a height of four courses and continues northward beyond the excavation limits. There may have been an alleyway between W111 and W120. An installation (L132) to the west of W120 was probably a storage-jar stand.
In the southern part of the area, two parallel wall stumps (W116, W118) built of two rows of stones and preserved to a height of three to four courses were founded on walls from Stratum 3 (Fig. 8). Wall 118 (Fig. 9) was abutted by two tamped earthen floors (L113, L122) that were laid consecutively. On the lower floor was a large storage jar placed on its side that is decorated with rope ornamentation.
The bedding of a floor in the southeast of the area (L114; Fig. 10) was made of densely compacted small and medium-sized fieldstones. On the floor bedding were two basalt grinding surfaces lying upside down on their smooth side. Adjacent the northern edge of Bedding 114 was a surface of large fieldstones, on which a flat boulder was placed, which was probably either a pillar base or a work surface. Beneath the northwestern part of the boulder were several dozen clam shells (Glycymeris) that had perforations punched through the highest part of the shell. The shell finds may indicate a local industry related to processing shells and using them as ornaments or tokens.
The remains uncovered in the south of the area are probably related to the structure that was revealed in the north of the area.
Phase 1 (Fig. 6). The excavation uncovered part of a wall (W110) adjoined to the east side of W123. Wall 110 was built of two rows of stones, but these were only preserved in its northern part; the wall was preserved to the height of a single course. The wall may have been a bench. It is also evident that in this phase, the eastern part of W115 was thickened by building a row of stones to its north.
Stratum 1—Hellenistic Period
A circular installation (L151; Figs. 6, 11) whose walls were built of small and medium-sized fieldstones was partially excavated. A storage jar dating from the Hellenistic period (third–second centuries BCE) was discovered inside the installation. The installation was dug into the southwestern corner of Room II of Stratum 2 and cut into its three phases. No other remains from the period were discovered in the excavation area. The installation may belong to remains of a settlement that was discovered nearby in excavations at the site in 2009–2010 (Torgë and Sa‘id 2015: Stratum 7).
The remains uncovered in the excavation belong to another part of the Early Bronze Age settlement discovered at the site and attest to a settlement sequence in EB IB and EB II. The broad wall (W120) in Stratum 2 that was found in the northwest of the area may have been a fortification wall enclosing the settlement on the west in EB II.