‘Atiqot 77 (2014)
Building Remains and a ‘Burial Enclosure’ from the Byzantine to the Mamluk Periods at Bet She’an (Youth Hostel)
(with a contribution by Alexandra Sardoyev)
(Hebrew, pp. 1–63; English summary, pp. 119*–128*)
Keywords: Bet She’an Valley, architecture, stratigraphy, atrium house, tombs, water installations, pits, stone items, metal, earthquakes, Byzantine period, Early Islamic period, Crusader period, Middle Ages
A salvage excavation conducted at the site of the Bet She’an Youth Hostel, on the eastern margins of the city, revealed remains of four buildings, tombs and water installations belonging to eight strata. In the lowest two strata was a Late Roman and Byzantine ‘burial enclosure’ comprising a stone foundation (Stratum VIII), a burial cave and a cist grave (Stratum VII). Buildings were erected among the burials in Stratum VI and these revealed a number of alterations, made during the Umayyad period (Strata V–IV), until their destruction in the 749 CE earthquake. Abbasid-period Stratum III represents construction following the earthquake. Stratum II consists of building remains from the Ayyubid and Mamluk periods, and Stratum I represents the Ottoman period up to the 1950s. Sixteen hewn or dug pits were uncovered. The finds include pottery and glass vessels, a variety of stone items and tools and metal objects. Two unique hoards were exposed; one consisting of 751 gold coins (Stratum IV), the other, glazed faience bowls (Stratum II).
The Ceramic Finds from the Late Roman to the Ottoman Periods at Bet She’an (Youth Hostel)
(Hebrew pp. 65–146; English summary, pp. 129*–130*)
Keywords: ceramic typology, pottery production, faience vessels, Late Roman period, Byzantine period, Early Islamic period, Middle Ages, Ottoman period
The pottery recovered from the excavation at the site of the Bet She’an Youth Hostel includes few Late Roman sherds; a rich Byzantine assemblage comprising local and imported bowls, cooking wares, storage jars, jugs and amphorae; an equally rich Early Islamic assemblage consisting of glazed wares ranging from Coptic glazed ware to double-slipped glazed bowls, ‘Kerbschnitt’ bowls, glazed and unglazed cooking ware, and plain vessels made of both reddish and buff wares, possibly produced on-site, as well as kiln wasters, lids, a pomegranate-shaped bottle, a zoomorphic vessel and jar fragments bearing incised inscriptions; a rich variety of medieval vessels, including local and imported glazed bowls, monochrome, slip-painted and molded bowls, plain and handmade painted bowls, glazed cooking ware and closed containers, as well as a unique cache of beautifully decorated faience bowls. Several glazed and plain household wares and tobacco pipes were assigned to the Ottoman period.
A Fatimid-Period Glass Weight from Bet She’an (Youth Hostel)
(Hebrew pp. 147–148; English summary, p. 131*)
Keywords: disk-weights, dinar, Muslim rulers
A Fatimid-period disk weight, equivalent in weight to two dinars and made of honey-green glass, was found in the northern part of Building III. It bears a three-line stamp of Imām az-Zāhir, the seventh Fātīmid Imām. Similar glass weights are known from Egypt, but have also been found in Syria and Palestine. Some scholars have suggested that these are glass jetons, used as coins. A more widely accepted suggestion is that these are simply dinar and dirham weights.
Mollusk Shells from Bet She’an (Youth Hostel)
(Hebrew pp.149–151; English summary, p. 132*)
Keywords: archaeomalacology, Mediterranean coast, Red Sea
Five mollusk shells were retrieved from the excavation at the site of the Bet She’an Youth Hostel:
. Four shells originated in the Mediterranean Sea, and one, in the Red Sea. One specimen, the
sp., is not found along the shore of Israel, and was most probably collected somewhere else in the Mediterranean basin, possibly Italy. One of the shells found at the site,
, is known to have been used for dyeing in biblical times. The other four were used as decorative ornaments (beads), or as storage containers, possibly for makeup.
The Oil Lamps from Bet She’an (Youth Hostel)
Keywords: pottery production, Byzantine period, Early Islamic period, Middle Ages
About 100 ceramic oil lamps, many of them complete, were recovered from the excavation at the site of the Bet She’an Youth Hostel. Most were found in fills that could not be related to a specific occupation level while more than half were found in fills in the ‘burial enclosure’. Almost all the lamp types, ranging in date from the Late Roman to the Mamluk periods (third–thirteenth centuries CE), appear in the corpus of the Hebrew University excavations at Bet She’an.
The Glass Finds from Bet She’an (Youth Hostel)
Keywords: Bet She’an Valley, glass production, typology, ornaments
Approximately 2000 glass fragments, mostly small and of blown glass, were retrieved from the excavation at the site of the Bet She’an Youth Hostel, ranging in date from the late third to the fifteenth centuries CE. Most belong to two chronological groups: the seventh–mid-eighth centuries and the eighth–tenth centuries. The dating was based on fabric features and parallels from well-stratified sites. The Late Roman–Byzantine assemblage comprises common types. The late Byzantine–Early Islamic vessels belong to a well-known group, although a few newly discovered versions of local types were also found. While the assemblage includes a broad range of ornamented types, it lacks luxury vessels adorned with cut-decoration. The vessels from the Ayyubid–Mamluk periods are represented by a few domestic types.
The Coins from Bet She’an (Youth Hostel)
Gabriela Bijovsky and Ariel Berman
Keywords: numismatics, coin hoards, graffiti
A total of 1797 coins, 1264 of which are identifiable, were retrieved from the excavation at the site of the Bet She’an Youth Hostel. These include a hoard of 751 seventh-century Byzantine gold
that was deposited no earlier than the early 680s, indicating that such coins continued to circulate until ‘Abd al-Malik’s reform. The other 513 identified coins range from a fourth-century BCE coin to Mamluk silver
and fractions. The Byzantine period (sixth–seventh centuries) is represented by a large and varied series of bronze coins of all the emperors—from Anastasius I to Constans II. The Islamic coins can be divided into three groups. The largest group is from the mid-seventh century up to the earthquake of 749 CE. Abassid coins range from the second half of the eighth century to the end of the ninth century. Following a gap in the numismatic evidence (tenth–late twelfth century CE), coins from the end of the twelfth century CE, represented by Zangid, Ayyūbid and Rūm Seljuq coins, and Mamlūk coins fully representing the fourteenth century CE, were retrieved.
The Skeletal Remains from Bet She’an (Youth Hostel)
Keywords: osteology, anthropology, burial
The skeletal remains from the excavation at the site of the Bet She’an Youth Hostel were in a very poor state of preservation. They were retrieved from contexts dated to the Byzantine, Early Islamic and Mamluk periods and include at least six adults, one subadult and one child.
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