In December 2017, a trial excavation was conducted south of Qiryat Ata and west of Horbat Usha (Permit No. A-8145; map ref. 213119–67/74400–5; Fig. 1), prior to the construction of the Raḥel reservoir. The excavation, on behalf of the Israel Antiquities Authority and funded by the Mekorot Water Company, was directed by A. Chocron, with the assistance of Y. Amrani and E. Bachar (administration), R. Mishayev (surveying and drafting), A. Peretz (field photography), P. Gendelman (scientific guidance and pottery), and M. Shuiskaya (pottery drawing).
The winepress comprised a treading floor (L10; 4 × 4 m), a plastered filtration vat (L14; diam. 0.7 m) and a plastered collecting vat (L11, L16; 1.7 × 1.9 m). The treading floor was hewn level and its walls were partly hewn and partly built of large roughly-dressed stones with no binding agent. The floor contained traces of bedding (L19) that probably belonged to a mosaic pavement that has not been preserved. At the bottom of a square pit (L20) hewn in the center of the treading floor was the base of a pressing screw (L15) that drained into the collecting vat via a rock-hewn channel. Another hewn channel led from the edge of the treading floor to the filtration vat. A channel cut in the bottom of the filtration vat led to the collecting vat. Four plastered steps lead down to the floor of the partially excavated collecting vat.
The plaster in the filtration vat yielded a rim fragment of a Galilean jar (Fig. 3:1) dated to the fourth–fifth centuries CE. Soil accumulations that covered the winepress yielded a few potsherds, including CRSW-type bowls (Fig. 3:2–4) dated to the fifth–sixth centuries CE.
This winepress and others discovered nearby (Hater 2014) attest to wine-production at the site during the Byzantine period and indicate that the area served as an agricultural hinterland, probably of the nearby Horbat Usha.