A trial excavation was conducted in November 1998 along the western fringes of
Horbat Kosit (A-2963*; map ref. NIG 20135–8/70288–90; OIG 15135–8/20288–90) after ancient remains were destroyed while digging a pit for an electric pole. The excavation, on behalf of the Antiquities Authority and financed by the Israel Electric Company, was directed by A. Massarwa, assisted by A. Hajian (surveying), V. Shorr (drafting) and M. Shuiskaya-Arnov (drawing).
A winepress from the Byzantine period, hewn in the soft chalk bedrock (Fig. 1), was exposed. The winepress consisted of a treading surface (L104) that had a circular settling pit (L105) in its northern end. Two channels, which enclosed ceramic pipes, led from the settling pit to two collecting vats (L100, L103). The treading surface (2.5
× 4.0 m) was paved with industrial mosaic that was partially preserved; in most of the area only the bedding for the mosaic floor had survived. The surface extended southward, below a modern dirt road and beyond the limits of the excavation. The settling pit (diam. 0.6 m, depth 0.65 m) served to drain off the must that flowed to the two collecting vats. The eastern collecting vat (L100; depth 1.8 m) was severely damaged when the pit for the electric pole was dug and only its southern wall was preserved; it was coated with plaster mixed with Byzantine potsherds. The western collecting vat (L103; 1.5 × 1.6 m, depth 1.8 m) was only slightly damaged by the pit; its walls were coated with plaster similar to the one in Vat 100. A settling pit (L106; diam. 0.48 m, depth 0.5 m) was cut into its southeastern corner and two circular steps were hewn in its northwestern corner.
A meager amount of ceramics was recovered from the winepress, including body sherds of jars and fragments of cooking pots (Fig. 2:1–4) from the Byzantine period (the 4th century CE), as well as non-diagnostic body fragments of glass vessels and animal bones.