During August 2011, an archaeological excavation was conducted in the northeastern part of the municipal park in Tiberias (Permit No. A-6263; map ref. 250827/743722), prior to the construction of an underground car park. The excavation, undertaken on behalf of the Israel Antiquities Authority and underwritten by the Tiberias Economic Company, was directed by M. Hartal, with the assistance of Y. Lavan (administration), A. Hillman (area supervision and photography), G. Cinamon (area supervision), R. Mishayev and M. Kahan (surveying and drafting), D. Syon (metal detection), the Skyview Company (aerial photography), W. Atrash (guidance), Y. Arnon (ceramics) and laborers from Tiberias and Kafr Manda.
Wall foundations were dug into a layer of small pebbles that contained small potsherds dating to the Late Roman and Byzantine periods. A similar layer was revealed in all of the areas that were excavated at the site. The potsherds, mostly worn, were probably swept there from a neighboring site. The stratum in the current excavation area was thinner than in the areas excavated to the south and it seems that this was the northern end of the alluvium.
A courtyard paved with large fieldstones and probably a smaller courtyard, in which a tabun was discovered, were preserved in the spacious building (Fig. 2). Sections of several rooms that had been damaged by the construction of a bomb shelter were exposed. The walls of the rooms were built of fieldstones and roughly hewn stones and survived to a single course high above the floors; the walls were probably the foundation of mud-brick walls that did not survive. Similar walls were discovered in previous excavations in most of the houses in the neighborhood. The floors of the rooms consisted of earth and were overlain with a hard layer of accumulated soil that contained small fieldstones, numerous potsherds, fragments of glass vessels, coins and animal bones. The ceramic finds date the structure to the tenth century CE. The northern side of the building was closed by a uniform wall (length c. 18 m), north of which no architectural remains were uncovered. This is likely the northernmost dwelling in the city of Tiberias at this time.
A channel covered with stone slabs (length 15 m, width c. 0.3 m, depth c. 0.8 m; Fig. 3) was exposed north of and parallel to the building. The channel was dug into the layer of pebbles and the underlying layer of earth. It was lined with roughly hewn stones and was not plastered. Silt that had accumulated in the channel contained several worn body potsherds from the Byzantine period, like those in the pebble layer. It was not possible to date the covered channel; however, it could be seen in the sections that the sides and top of the channel were built in a trench that had been dug in the ground and covered with soil in the Early Islamic period.
The installation, consisting of three or four compartments, was built of square stones bonded with hydraulic plaster (width of each compartment 0.58 m, excavated depth c. 1 m; Fig. 4). The installation was only partially exposed because most of it was situated beyond the limits of the excavation. Tamped soil mixed with potsherds dating to the Umayyad period (eighth century CE) was found at the bottom of the compartments and this was overlain with stone collapse and non-packed earth, which contained potsherds from the Abbasid period. The fact that the installation was filled-in shows that it ceased to be used in the Abbasid period. Several stone beams that might have been used for covering the installation were found in the stone collapse. Similar installations were discovered at Bet She’an where they were probably used in processing flax or leather (W. Atrash, per. comm.).
The current excavation completed the archaeological work in the municipal park in the area slated for a car park. The exposed building extended across a considerable area. The artifacts in it represent vessels of domestic use. No luxurious items or valuable objects were found. This picture is in keeping with the finds from earlier excavations in the municipal park and reinforces the supposition that this was a poor neighborhood.