In October 2002, a salvage excavation was conducted at Tirat Karmel (License No. B-259/2002; map ref. 1979/7409), prior to construction work. The excavation, undertaken on behalf of the Zinman Institute of Archaeology at the University of Haifa in cooperation with the Israel Antiquities Authority, was directed by M. Eisenberg (field photography and metal detection) and I. Groman-Yaroslvaski, with the assistance of R. Khamisy (area supervision).
Two excavation squares were opened c. 20 m apart, near existing buildings. Development work at the site in recent decades had clearly damaged archaeological remains, including those lying several meters below the surface. The northern square was mechanically excavated to a depth of over 4 m; as no ancient remains were found, the square was not excavated any further. Architectural remains dating from the Early Roman period were revealed in the southern square. Similar finds from the same period were previously discovered to the north and northeast of the current excavation area (Lipkunsky 1995; License No. B-258/2002).
The southern square was cleared with mechanical equipment down to the tops of walls, approximately 2 m beneath the level of a modern road. A manual excavation was than conducted down to 2.7 m beneath the surface, revealing the remains of four walls of a building (W401, W402, W406, W409; Figs. 1, 2). The walls were built of kurkar ashlars on a solid foundation of river pebbles; they were preserved to the height of a single course. It was clear that most of the building’s walls had not been preserved. Traces of a thick plaster floor (L405) were discovered in the square’s northern balk. Wall 409 curved into the square’s eastern balk, and it may have been the foundation of an apse. The lower part of the excavation yielded a few potsherds dated to the Early Roman period (late first century BCE–first century CE).
The wall remains were probably part of a large Early Roman building, possibly containing an apse. Although Early Roman finds continue to be discovered in salvage excavations at Tirat Karmel, very little information exists about the nature or size of the settlement during this period. The ashlars found in the architectural remains from this period may well attest to the settlement’s importance, and local conditions—such as stream erosion from west—may have caused the settlement to be abandoned.
Lipkunsky D. 1995. Tirat Hacarmel (A). ESI 14:50–52.