In December 2013, a trial excavation was conducted in the village of et-Taiyiba in Ramot Issakhar (Permit No. A-6969; map ref. 241016–974/723464–506; Fig. 1), prior to construction work. The excavation, undertaken on behalf of the Israel Antiquities Authority and financed by the contractor, Omar Atiya, was directed by F. Abu Zidan, with the assistance of Y. Lavan (administration), R. Mishayev and M. Kahan (surveying and drafting), A. Shapiro (GPS), Y. Bibas (photography) and Atiya family members.
Two adjacent excavation squares opened in the north of the village, on the south bank of Nahal Issakhar, yielded the remains of a winepress from the late Byzantine–Early Islamic periods (seventh–eighth centuries CE; Fig. 2).
The winepress had a treading floor (L10; Fig. 3) paved with coarse white tesserae, of which only small sections were preserved. The treading-floor bedding was composed of two layers: an upper layer (c. 0.2 m thick) consisting of white clay mixed with a large quantity of tesserae and a lower layer made of small and medium-sized flat basalt stones. The treading floor was delimited on the south and west by two walls (W12, W13). In each wall, only a single foundation course built of small basalt fieldstones was preserved; traces of white plaster coating the stones could still be discerned. Wall 13, built next to the treading floor, probably served as an internal partition; Wall 12 delimited the treading floor on the west. The foundation trench of W12 penetrated beneath the surface of the treading-floor bedding (L14). A pit (L15; depth c. 0.6 m) lined with small to medium-sized basalt stones was found in the middle of the treading floor; it probably served to anchor the base of a screw press that had been plundered (Fig. 4). Pottery sherds dated to the seventh–eighth centuries CE, including two bowls (Fig. 5:1, 2) and four jars (Fig. 5:3–6), were retrieved from the pit and the treading floor. On large boulders to the east of the treading floor were concentrations of small fieldstones (L11, L16). These concentrations may be part of the eastern bedding of the treading floor, which did not survive.
The winepress from the seventh–eighth centuries CE should be added to the numerous agricultural installations discovered along Nahal Issakhar that served in the production of wine and olive oil during the Byzantine and Early Islamic periods.
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