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Area E: Structures


Area E is situated on the western side of the acropolis. In area E1, to the north, a slope trench was excavated in 1988-1992, bringing to light 26 levels. A massive wall (M. 1155) has been exposed here over a length of 25 m and preserved up to 4 m high. This structure encircled the town of Afis during the Late Chalcolithic period (4000-3300 B.C.). Stamp and cylinder seals document the emergence of administrative activities. A later, massive outer wall (M.1115), dating to Middle Bronze Age was also discovered. It consisted of a foundation of large blocks with a fill of small stones, pebbles and sherds and a solid mud brick superstructure, supplemented on the outside by a second, lower wall. The wall changed greatly through successive modifications: in an early phase it was 1.60 m wide and had a small gate with a threshold of well-dressed slabs; later the width was doubled to between 3.50 and 4.00 m by the addition of a second supporting wall. The early gate was bricked in and a bent-axis entrance was created. A dense agglomeration of houses belonging to Iron Age I was also discovered, with a large open court surrounded by domestic structures and a rectangular building which could have had a ceremonial or cultic function. In area E2 an Early Bronze Age domestic unit was investigated. The houses were equipped with installations for flint and pottery working.

A pottery workshop dating to an intermediate EB/MB phase has been investigated in area E3, including a large vertical kiln, a second, smaller kiln lined with red clay and cobbles, and two further connected kilns. These were related to rooms to the east and north, which were provided with installations, kilns, pits, ovens, fireplaces and platforms. This unit was still in use in the following MB I (2000-1850), when rooms with domestic installations were separated by a cobbled street. Area E 4 furnishes a coherent sequence for the Late Bronze II and provides a set of primary contexts with well-deposited materials. Of the earliest phase (phase VII of the inner sequence of the area) six rooms belonging to a considerable residence were brought to light. The western ones were probably bathrooms, with floors made of a thick coating of whitish plaster laid on a stone preparation; the northeastern one was a kitchen equipped with a "tannur", a bread oven. The residence yielded a small archive of Hittite and Hurrian texts, dating back to the mid-13th century; seals and bronze objects attest to increasing internationals connections under the Hittite rule in the region. In the following phase (phase VI), the area was open, with a small unit provided with a kiln and several fireplaces performing an industrial activity.  In phase Vc-b, the whole area was built over with three large residences (A, B, E) separated by a cobbled street. To the south of the street lay the Pillared Building (B), to the north the Residency (A), a 300 square meter building; the third building (E) was adjacent to the Residency to the north. The Pillared Building consisted of one room measuring 9x7 m divided into two sectors by a row of 6 stone pillars, with two small rooms adjoining to the south. The western sector, well plastered, contained a tannur and storage jars. To the north of the street lay the Residency (A), a 300 square meter building; its main gate opening to the south on the street was decorated on the western side by a low stone column, stone threshold and jambs. The long front room gives access, in a bent axis through a gate flanked by 2 m high limestone monoliths, to a court that was protected on its western side by a wide porch with the wood and cobblestone threshold preserved in place. A staircase led to an upper floor or terrace and a further door opened, instead, onto an inner courtyard. A deep destruction level covered the floors with burnt beams and the remains of the collapsed reed roof they once supported. Of the building adjacent to the Residency to the north (Building E) only three small storage rooms were brought to light; the eastern one, with a plastered floor, was occupied by storage jars. The ruins of the Late Bronze II buildings were reused during the earliest Iron Age I period (phase Va, ca. 1280-1130 B.C), while a new well-planned domestic unit, facing cobbled streets, was built in Iron Age IB (phases IVc-a, 1130-1050). Buildings consisted of rows of small rooms opening onto inner courts, built with well-laid walls on stone foundations and with stone jambs and thresholds.