An Iron Age Cemetery and Other Remains at Yavne
(with a contribution by Danny Sion)
Raz Kletter and Yossi Nagar
Keywords: coastal plain, burial, ethnicity, Philistines, burial goods
Excavations at Yavne, on the plain immediately north of the ancient tell, uncovered finds from several periods: small finds from the Early and Middle Bronze Ages; a Late Bronze Age tomb; an Iron Age cemetery; and scanty remains from the Byzantine and Ottoman periods. The Iron Age cemetery comprised 28 tombs and graves. This large, dense cemetery provides significant archaeological evidence of the Philistine city of Yavne during the tenth–eighth centuries BCE.
Glass Vessels from Yavne
Keywords: coastal plain, luxurious vessel, ethnicity, Jewish settlement, Roman army
During the excavation at Yavne, 33 diagnostic glass fragments were found, the majority belonging to common Late Roman- and Byzantine-period types (fourth–sixth centuries CE). The assemblage includes bowls, beakers and bottles, and two types of oil lamps, hollow-stemmed and bowl-shaped with a wick-tube. The most important glass find is a small body fragment of a mold-blown beaker, decorated with almond-shaped knobs, which is dated to the first century CE. Although the Yavne fragment was found in a refuse pit with later glass finds, the discovery of such a vessel at the site contributes significantly to our knowledge about the distribution of this type.
An Iron Age Site at Khirbat Umm el-Baqr (Nahal Adorayim)
(with contributions by Emil Aladjem)
(Hebrew, pp. 69–105; English summary, pp. 122*–123*)
Pirhiya Nahshoni and Svetlana Talis
Keywords: Philistine pottery, bull figurine, stone vessels, groundstones
Two areas (A, B) were excavated at Khirbat Umm el-Baqr, north of Nahal Adorayim. In Area A, two small, natural caves were found; no finds or evidence of use were observed. In Area B, Early Bronze Age finds were unearthed in an irregularly shaped pit, and remains of at least two buildings were exposed, dating from the end of Iron I to the beginning of Iron II (end of the eleventh–beginning of the tenth centuries BCE). The finds from the Early Bronze Age comprise potsherds and a Canaanite flint blade, and those of the Iron Age consist of pottery, a zoomorphic figurine, flints and stone vessels and artifacts. Despite the poor preservation of the buildings, it is possible to conclude that the site was abandoned in haste, as attested by complete vessels found on the floors. This area was not resettled, and may have moved to the higher tell.
Yavne-Yam (North): An Agricultural Area and Cemeteries from the Middle and Late Bronze Ages, and the Persian, Hellenistic, Roman and Byzantine Periods
(with contributions by Eriola Jakoel and Limor Talmi)
(Hebrew, pp. 1–29; English summary, pp. 113*–115*)
Moshe Ajami and Uzi ‘Ad
Keywords: coastal plain, stone vessels, Jewish population, Jewish coins, numismatics, wine production, fishing gear, lead amulet, Greek inscription, malacology, glyptics, geomorphology
In an excavation south of Kibbutz Palmahim, the northern agricultural hinterland of Yavne-Yam was exposed, including its agricultural installations and cemetery. In Area A a winepress, a building and a channel were excavated, dating to the Persian, Hellenistic and Roman periods. Area B yielded two adjacent winepresses and a kiln from the Persian and Hellenistic periods, and an installation and a retaining wall dating to between the Persian and the Late Roman periods. In Area C, middens of stones and shells were uncovered, probably dating from the Roman period. Areas D1 and D2 yielded the remains of a cemetery that operated during the Middle or Late Bronze Age and the Early Roman period. An assemblage of fishing-related metal artifacts was found in Area B, indicating the presence of a small workshop that produced lead weights and fishing lines from bronze nails in secondary use. The discoveries in the Yavne-Yam agricultural hinterland increase our understanding of the site’s history and development. The cessation of farming in the region should probably be associated with the covering of sand dunes during the Byzantine or Early Islamic periods.
The Pottery and Stone Vessels from Yavne-Yam (North)
(Hebrew, pp. 31–42; English summary, p. 116*)
Keywords: coastal plain, saqiye vessels, commerce, trade, import, export
Excavations at Yavne-Yam yielded potsherds from the Middle Bronze Age and possibly the Late Bronze Age, and from the Persian to the Late Roman (third–fourth centuries CE) periods. Scant finds from the Byzantine and Ottoman periods were retrieved mainly from the surface. Stone vessels from the Early Roman period (first–third centuries CE) were also found. The Roman-period ceramic assemblage changes our understanding of the history of Yavne-Yam’s occupation, as they testify to extensive activity at the site during this period, which was only poorly represented in previous surveys and excavations at the site. A particularly striking feature of the ceramic assemblage is the relatively high incidence of amphorae imported from the Mediterranean region and North Africa, testifying to extensive trade links with these regions.
The Coins from Yavne-Yam (North)
(Hebrew, pp. 43–48; English summary, p. 117*)
Donald T. Ariel
Keywords: coastal plain, numismatics
Twenty-eight coins were found in the excavations, dating from the first through the fourth centuries CE. Seven
may have derived from a hoard that was subsequently scattered. One exception is an autonomous Philistine coin (c. 420–390 BCE), which may be associated with other finds from the Persian period in this part of the site.
A Roman-Period Fishing Station at Yavne-Yam (North)
(Hebrew, pp. 49–58; English summary, p. 118*–119*)
Jacob Sharvit and Dror Planer
Keywords: coastal plain, harbor, rod fishing, workshop, hook manufacture, fish, economy, numismatics
Excavations at Yavne-Yam yielded remains of fishing equipment. The finds included 12 complete, unmarked weights, which were cast in a stone or pottery mold; 24 lead droplets and shapeless lumps; 35 fragments of square-sectioned bronze nails—their heads flat and round, or pointed and thickened. Other metal artifacts in the assemblage include a bronze ring and a bronze sewing needle, possibly for sails. The lead weights and industrial waste were discovered together with coins dating from the second to the first half of the fourth century CE; therefore, the assemblage was dated to the Late Roman period. The variety of the weights and their light mass indicate that they were used with a small fishing net or a fishing rod. It seems that a workshop for the production of lead weights and fishing hooks operated at the site. This is the earliest evidence of production of fishing hooks from bronze nails in secondary use.
Yavne-Yam (North): Geomorphology and Environment
(Hebrew, pp. 59–67; English summary, pp. 120*–121*)
Keywords: Peleshet coastal plain, sand dunes, aeolian sand, climate fluctuations, topography
Yavne-Yam (North) is located on the coastal plain of Peleshet, on the border of the Rishon Le-Ziyyon and Yavne dunes, approximately 200 m from the coastline. The site is buried under sand dunes. Two representative sections were examined (E and W). In Section E, four sand units were identified, containing occupation levels (especially Units 2 and 4) that were subjected to an accumulation of sand. At the bottom of the dune (Unit 1), Late Roman-period pottery was found. In Section W, excavated to the west of the site, three units were observed: Unit 1 contained 94% sand; Unit 2 is a transitional unit of mixed sand (76%) and clay; and Unit 3 contained a dark gray-brown clayey soil, comprising 50% sand and 32% clay—in this layer, Middle Bronze Age tombs were revealed. It seems that the surface of the site was quite stable for a long period, lasting at least from the Late Bronze Age until the Late Roman period. During the Roman period, the site underwent cycles of sandy coverage, probably of low intensity, allowing the site to continue to exist. It seems that during the Byzantine period, the site underwent a massive cycle of sandy coverage, leading to the termination of activity.
Shells from the Excavation of Yavne-Yam (North)
Henk K. Mienis
Keywords: coastal plain, shell pendant, purple dye production
The excavation at Yavne-Yam (North) yielded several samples of shells, most of which were collected in the shell-pit in Area C. The shell material includes a mixture of marine, terrestrial and freshwater molluscs, belonging to 33 different species, which originated in three different regions: 24 species are from the Mediterranean Sea, 8 gastropods are local terrestrial species from the dune area between Yavne-Yam and Palmahim, and a single bivalve species is obviously from the nearby stream of Nahal Soreq. It seems that most of the marine shells at the site were used as building material, e.g., as mortar.
Excavations along the High Level Aqueduct to Caesarea Maritima
(Hebrew, pp. 107–149; English summary, pp. 124*–126*)
Yosef Porath and Uzi ‘Ad
Keywords: water supply system, gravity channel, pipeline, plaster type, pillar, arch, inscribed column, travertine, cornice
Salvage excavations along the central sector of the High Aqueduct to Caesarea were conducted in five areas (Areas 1–5). Area 1 was excavated at the foothills of Mount Carmel. Area 2 was excavated at the point where Road 4 cuts the aqueduct. Area 3 was located where Channel A was diverted into Deviation Channel D. Area 4 was opened on both sides of the modern breach of Nahal ‘Ada, and Area 5, where Channel D joins Channel A. The High Aqueduct functioned continuously for about six centuries, until the Islamic conquest in 640/1 CE. It comprised three channels (A–C), which were constructed gradually. First, Channel A was constructed, sometime between the inauguration of Caesarea by King Herod in 10/9 BCE and Hadrian’s rule, probably under the Flavian emperors. Then, Channel B was added to its right side; an inscription dated it to Hadrian’s rule. Channel C replaced Channel B. Gravity Channel C2, which replaced the Channel C pipeline, constitutes the last stage of the aqueduct, in the sixth century CE. These results are an important addition to our knowledge concerning the construction and dating of the High Aqueduct.
Safed (Zefat), Jerusalem Street: Crusader-Period Remains in the Vicinity of the Castle
Keywords: Iron Age, Frankish period, Ottoman period, Mamluk, Sultan Baybars, pig bone
The excavation on Jerusalem Street, Safed uncovered remains that once occupied a terrace on the western slope of a hill, below the thirteenth-century medieval castle. A detailed picture of the Crusader period emerged from the synthesis of stratigraphic analyses, Carbon-14 dating and the study of the various finds, i.e., pottery, metal objects, glass, coins and faunal remains. The pottery and glass finds date to the twelfth and thirteenth centuries. Coins from the construction, occupation and destruction layers all date to the Ayyubid or Frankish periods, between 1146 and 1243–1248 CE. Based on the numismatic finds, it is feasible to attribute the destruction of the site to 1244, when the Khwarezmians devastated the areas surrounding the castle without, however, attacking the castle. The results of the excavation conform with the historical sources.
Glass Vessels from Jerusalem Street, Safed (Zefat)
Keywords: medieval period, technology, typology
The glass vessels from the excavation on Jerusalem Street, Safed were retrieved from a well-dated context, in a Crusader–Ayyubid building. They were attributed to the second half of the twelfth and the thirteenth centuries CE. Beakers dominate the assemblages, accompanied by bottles and flasks. The beakers are of well-known medieval types, distinguished by their decoration: mold-blown ribs or applied prunts. This glass assemblage reflects a tradition common in medieval Europe of using glass vessels predominantly for drinking.
The Coins from Jerusalem Street, Safed (Zefat)
Keywords: numismatics, medieval period, Frankish period, faubourg, ‘Holy Sepulchre’ type, kingdom of Jerusalem, Kwarezmians
Eighteen coins were found in the vestiges of three structures on Jerusalem Street, Safed, and all were identified. Four Frankish-period
date to the 1160s–1250s: an
, a twelfth-century French Feudal coin, a Cypriote
of Lusignan Cyprus and a thirteenth century
minted in the kingdom of Sicily. One Zangid and five Ayyubid copper
date between the second half of the twelfth and the first two decades of the thirteenth centuries. Eight Mamluk
date to the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries.
Butchers’ Waste: Zooarchaeological Analysis of a Crusader/Ayyubid Bone Deposit from Jerusalem Street, Safed (Zefat)
Guy Bar-Oz and Noa Raban-Gerstel
Keywords: Ottoman period, gnawing marks, butchery marks, butchery waste, food refuse, chopped bones, slaughtering, secondary products, economy, taxonomic representation
A small assemblage of 162 complete and fragmentary bones was retrieved from strata dated to the second half of the twelfth–thirteenth centuries CE. The faunal remains comprise predominantly domesticated livestock: sheep and goat (most frequent) as well as domestic fowl, cattle, an equid, a pig and a dog. In addition, a single shell fragment of a tortoise and two fish head-fragments were identified. The anatomical representation of sheep/goat skeletal elements seems to indicate a context of a butcher’s shop. The absence of burnt bones further attests to the excavated refuse being principally the leftovers of butchery deposits. More than 38% of the identified bones bore evidence of knife cutting and chopping. Such a preponderance of butchered bones characterizes the remains of large industrial butchery waste areas. The high frequency of chopped bones resembles other medieval urban industrial butchery sites.
Website, texts and photos © Israel Antiquities Authority