The Treading Floor. As the floor appeared destroyed down to bedrock, its location was deduced from other elements of the installation. The floor seems to have undergone some alterations, as evidenced by unclear additions of stones and plaster to the northwest of the working area (F1007 and W1009; Figs. 3, 4). A future extension of the excavation northward may uncover some remains of probably the east and hopefully the north and west edges of the treading floor. Based on contemporary comparisons, the inner measurements of the floor are estimated to have been4 ´ 5 m.
The Working Area (F1003; restored measurements 3×5 m) comprised a floor (elevation 191.74 m) that surrounded the filtering and collecting vats. Three of its walls, the partly preserved W1002 to the north and W1001 to the south, as well as the well-preserved W1000 to the east, were uncovered. The floor and the walls were coated with two–three layers of plaster (Fig. 5). A low construction (F1008; height c. 0.25 m) was built along W1000. It was plastered and could have functioned as a step that accessed the working area, a bench or a shelf for the jars, and perhaps all three combined (Fig. 6).
The Filtering Vat (F1005; inner restored measurements 0.9×1.0, depth 1 m). The western edge of the vat was cut by the modern water conduit trench, which was the cause for the current excavation (Fig. 7). The vat was coated with three very thick layers of plaster (thickness c. 0.10–0.15 m); it received the must from the treading area through a pipe or a channel set to the north that strained the solid elements. Thereafter, the must would flow into the collecting vat, through a pipe set to the west, in Wall 1004. The filtering vat was only partly cleaned of its hard-earth fill and hence, its connection with both the treading floor and the collecting vat were not discovered. The pipe or channel that conveyed the must from the treading floor to the vat must have crossed the continuation of W1002, which was completely destroyed.
The Collecting Vat. Only one third of the fill inside the collecting vat was removed and its bottom was not reached (F1006; restored measurements 1.5×1.5 m, depth c. 2.45 m; elevation 191.74–189.29; Fig. 8). The upper part of the vat was built of stones, whereas the lower part was rock-hewn. Thick fragments of plaster, which most likely had fallen from the walls of the vat, were found in the fill that accumulated inside it.
A large fragment of a square stone (c. 0.4×0.4 m) with a hole in the center was found at the bottom of the collecting vat and was identified as a stone base for a wooden screw-press (Fig. 9). The deposition of the stone at the bottom of the vat could be evidence for a planned abandonment of the press.
All the fills above the press or inside the vats contained a relatively small quantity of potsherds, which spanned a rather long period of time. The Hellenistic period is represented by cooking pots (Fig. 10:1, 2), jars (Fig. 10:3–5) and a lamp (Fig. 10:6). The fragments from the Hasmonean–Herodian periods include a bowl (Fig. 10:7), jars (Fig. 10:8–10) and a jug (Fig. 10:11). Those from the Early Roman period consist of a cooking pot (Fig. 10:12), jugs (Fig. 10:13–15) and a stand (Fig. 10:16) and the Roman period potsherds include basins (Fig. 10:18, 19) and jars (Fig. 10:20, 21).
The early Byzantine period ceramics is composed of basins (Fig. 10:22–25), jars (Fig. 10:26, 27) and a jug (Fig. 10:28).
A fragment of stone (Fig. 10:17) may have been part of a weight from the Herodian/Early Roman period. A coin of Herod’sreign was found deep in the fill of the collecting vat (IAA 104768).
The potsherds from various periods were mixed in all the fills; late material was found at the bottom of the collecting vat. Hence, it can be concluded that the final abandonment of the press took place in the Early Byzantine period. Not a single mosaic tessera was found in the fills. These were usually associated with a mosaic layer above the treading floor, which characterized winepresses of the Byzantine period. Therefore, no drastic alteration of the press took place in the latter period and the stone base for a screw press may be related to a change in the pressing system of the winepress in the Roman period, if it indeed belonged to this press and not to a neighboring one.
A comparative winepress, which is probably contemporary with the building date of the Kefar Uriyya winepress, although of a slightly larger size, was discovered at Tel Michal (Z. Herzog, G. Rapp, Jr. and O. Negbi. Excavations at Tel Michal, Israel, Mineapolis-Tel Aviv 1999. Pp. 68–173); it enables to tentatively restore the complete plan of our winepress. The relatively limited exploration of the Kefar Uriyya winepress could not answer all the questions relevant to its size (maybe c. 5×7 m), its context and the possible evolution of the pressing system during the chronological span of c. 600–800 years of occupation in the area, as evidenced by the pottery. Further exploration of the treading floor and of the surroundings of the press may provide a better understanding of this structure.