|Stratum/Feature/Deposit||Principal Remains||Chronological-Cultural Attribution|
|V||Domestic architecture||Late Neolithic or early Chalcolithic|
|IV||Domestic architecture||Late EB I|
|III||Domestic architecture||Late EB I to (or including) earliest phase of EB II|
|II||Stone terraces||Indeterminate, Hellenistic period or later to modern|
|I||Fences of field stones, olive plantation||Indeterminate, late Ottoman to modern|
|Installations in bedrock outcrops||Cup marks and vat-like cavities||Indeterminate|
|Residual artifacts||Fills throughout the excavation||Late Neolithic or early Chalcolithic, Chalcolithic, early phases of EB I|
|Intrusive artifacts||Fills of strata III–IV||EB II–III, Hellenistic through Ottoman, modern|
STRATUM V. The earliest evidence for the utilization of the site was found in several small probes that reached bedrock. These revealed a layer of occupational debris with white plastered floors, the stone pavement of a small circular structure, and small concentrations of artifacts. The stratum appears to be a series of episodes within the late Neolithic and early Chalcolithic horizons, after which the hill was apparently abandoned for a considerable length of time. Evidence of late Chalcolithic activity was recorded nearby, high above the southern bank of
STRATA IV–III. At some point during a late phase of the Early Bronze Age I, an unfortified village developed on the gently sloping western face at the lower end of the ridge on both sides of
Several structures, apparently dwellings with courtyards and storage facilities, were partially unearthed in extensive soundings in stratum IV. This phase of occupation met a violent and abrupt end in a massive conflagration that left an extraordinarily well-preserved record of some of its features, including baked mud bricks and hardened mud plaster. Complete structures had collapsed, later to be filled with stone debris, ash, and soil, and preserving in situ a large and varied assemblage of ceramic vessels. Several large chambers full of pithoi that apparently contained highly flammable commodities (possibly oil or grain) were focal points in this conflagration. The upper part of one pithos was found, indisputably of local manufacture but with a somewhat unusual rim suggesting Egyptian influence. It was incised before firing with a symbol interpreted as a corner of a serekh, a royal Egyptian insignia associated with a king of the Proto-Dynastic period. The remarkable resemblance of this jar fragment to one from
The destruction of stratum IV was so complete that many of the buildings on the steepest part of the slope were filled with rubble and entirely covered, apparently intentionally. The settlers of stratum III were probably the same individuals who had fled the stratum IV destruction, presumably having returned within a short period of time to reoccupy the hillside. An exposure of more than 1,100 sq m yielded indications of superimposed floors and the reuse of wall stubs. However, new buildings and at least one stone-lined pit were constructed above the earlier structures. There is no evidence of destruction by fire, only collapsed houses and a large quantity of pottery, including numerous small portable vessels. The quantity and types of objects found suggest that the village was hastily abandoned. A single sample of emmer wheat from this level is the source for the only 14C date from the site. It places the end of the Early Bronze Age I late in the fourth millennium BCE and corroborates generally accepted chronologies.
Human skulls and a few long bones found in a room in the village appear to have been stored for ritual purposes. Some of these bones were completely charred, suggesting a connection with the event that destroyed the preceding village or representing additional evidence of cremation practices.
The Early Bronze Age I houses were large, multi-roomed structures, arranged along terraces cut into the sloping hillside. Fieldstone, readily available in the region, was used for all foundations and occasionally for superstructures. However, the walls’ upper courses and even one freestanding pillar were fashioned of flat-planed mud bricks with shallow runnels and one raised margin on top, devices intended to hold mortar and strengthen construction. Evidence from fills and debris suggests that some of these structures may have had at least partial second stories.
The buildings of this period were apparently entered from narrow, winding lanes, which sometimes end in blind alleys. Most of the rooms are rectangular and vary in size; a few houses have rounded corners. One broadroom, probably with an internal bench, is part of a larger building. This type of house, often associated with the Early Bronze Age, is an exception at
The ceramic assemblages of these levels include numerous complete vessels. Among these are crude, tiny vessels that suggest amateurish attempts at pottery manufacture; but other types, more regular in appearance, are obviously the product of skilled artisans. Notable types include bowls, amphoriskoi, “teapots,” jugs and juglets, jars of various sizes, and pithoi, as well as miniature versions of many of these types. Highly distinctive vessels include jars with a white lime slip, painted over with thin vertical red stripes; and storage jars and pithoi decorated with horizontal bands of flattened strips depressed at regular intervals in imitation of rope. A ceramic rendition of a water skin, a type of vessel often erroneously identified as a churn, allows for an accurate dating of this type to within the Early Bronze Age I.
A very small assemblage of sherds of Egyptian imported pottery, including “wine jars” and a fragment of a vessel incised with a serekh (lacking a name), represent at least some minimal contact with Egyptian material culture. A fragment of an alabaster piriform mace head and an exotic cream- and yellow-colored flint pressure-flaked knife also seem to be imports from the Nile Valley. The correlation with Egyptian artifacts suggests that the time span for this village falls within Naqada IIIc1 to IIIb1.
Preliminary observations on the flora and fauna of
STRATUM II. Several agricultural terrace walls of indeterminate date connected by stone steps appear on the upper slopes of the hill, above the remains of stratum III.
STRATUM I. A large fence of upright boulders of indeterminate date, above stratum II terrace walls, was the latest structure found on the hill.