During November 2017, a salvage excavation was conducted in a private plot in Beit Safafa, on the northwest slope of Givʻat Ha-Matos in Jerusalem (Permit No. A-8141; map ref. 219603/627604; Fig. 1). The excavation, undertaken on behalf of the Israel Antiquities Authority and financed by Bassam Alian, was directed by A. Levy (photography), with the assistance of N. Nehama (administration), A. Wiegmann (photogrammetric documentation), A. Rose (drafting) and Y. Zelinger (scientific guidance).
The current excavation unearthed a simple winepress hewn in a rock outcrop (Figs. 2, 3). Its treading floor was rectangular (L100; 4 m long, 2.75 m wide, 0.4 m deep; Fig. 4). In the northern part of the treading floor were poorly preserved remains of plaster, indicating that it had been coated with plastered (Fig. 5). The walls of a square settling pit (L101; 0.7 m long, 0.65 m wide, 0.84 m deep; Fig. 6), set to the north of the treading floor, bore traces of plaster. Two channels, and eastern one and a western one, were hewn in the rock partition (0.1 m thick) that separated the treading floor from the settling pit. A through-hole (L103; 0.2 m long, 5 cm wide; Figs. 6, 7) hewn in the settling pit’s southwest corner led into a square collecting vat (L102; 1 m long, 0.7 m wide, 2.04 m deep; Fig. 8). The excavation of the collecting vat was not completed due to large fieldstones that were found in it; nevertheless, it was apparent that little care was taken to ensure that it had straight walls.
Only few potsherds were recovered, and all are non-diagnostic body fragments that do not contribute toward dating the winepress. Since the installation cannot be attributed to a specific period based on its form, and since there were no other finds that were diagnostic, the date of the winepress remains unknown.
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