During April 2005, a salvage excavation was conducted along the road to Gan Ner (Permit No. A-4435*; map ref. NIG 232003/716560; OIG 182003/216560), prior to its widening. The excavation, undertaken on behalf of the Israel Antiquities Authority and underwritten by the Gilboa Regional Council, was directed by L. Porat, with the assistance of Y. Lavan (administration), H. Tahan (surveying and drafting), A Shapiro (GPS) and laborers of the IAA.
The site, situated on the northern shoulder of the access road, to the east of Gan Ner, had been damaged in the past during paving work. Two adjacent winepresses, hewn in nari bedrock, were exposed (Fig. 1).
The western winepress (Fig. 2) consisted of a trapezoidal treading floor (1.65 × 2.50 m) with two deep recesses in its sides (diam. 0.33 m, depth 0.41 m). North of the treading floor was a rectangular collecting vat (0.78 × 1.08 m, depth 0.42 m), with a hewn niche at the bottom. Two perforations (diam. 0.17 m) in the bedrock partition (thickness 0.2 m) between the collecting vat and the treading floor connected the two.
This winepress was similar to the winepresses excavated at Migdal Ha-‘Emeq (‘Atiqot 34:195–197), which were dated to the Middle Bronze Age.
The treading floor (2.08 × 4.60 m) in the eastern winepress (Fig. 3) was damaged in antiquity when ashlar masonry stones were quarried in its western part and the paving of a road in the modern era destroyed its southern part. A square mortise in the center of the area became wider toward the bottom (0.23 × 0.30 m, depth 0.2 m) and secured a screw press that was used to squeeze grape skins. Two conduits that connected between the treading floor and the mortise were cut in the bedrock partition (thickness 0.3 m) that separated the two. The rectangular collecting vat (1.10 × 1.37 m, depth 1.3 m) had a wide step in the west, to which a shallow gutter of unclear purpose led. A rectangular pit (0.53 × 0.60 m, depth 0.2 m) paved with a white mosaic was hewn in the southwestern corner of the vat’s floor. Traces of plaster on the walls of the collecting vat were embedded with potsherds from the Roman period, indicating the date of the winepress.