During October–November 2011, a trial excavation was conducted in Ramat Bet Shemesh C (Permit No. A-6309; map ref. 198269–389/623159–94), prior to construction. The excavation, undertaken on behalf of the Israel Antiquities Authority and underwritten by the Ministry of Construction and Housing, was directed by E. Kogan-Zehavi, with the assistance of N. Nehama (administration), M. Kunin and M. Kahan (surveying and drafting), A. Peretz (field photography) and C. Hersch (pottery drawing).
A round crushing basin (yam; diam. 1.4 m, thickness 0.4–0.5 m; Fig. 3) was exposed; it is hewn of limestone and set in a circular depression in the ground, surrounded by rocks. The stone was thicker on its western side, conforming to the inclination of the bedrock that sloped from east to west. Small stones were set between the yam and the surrounding bedrock to better secure it in place. Apart from the yam, no other olive-press remains were discovered; hence the yam was probably in secondary use. The finds discovered next to it were extremely meager, including several potsherds from the Roman period, for example a bowl fragment from the first century CE (Fig. 4:1) found in the soil fill below the crushing basin, and a pot rim (Fig. 4:3) uncovered in the alluvium on the surface.
A wide rectangular opening of a cave (width c. 2 m; Fig. 5) was exposed c. 10 m east of the crushing basin. No signs of a courtyard or rock-cuttings were discerned in front of the opening. The cave was not excavated because of the deteriorated state of its ceiling and only a probe trench was dug inside. No signs of quarrying were noted on the walls and floor of the cave and it therefore seems that this is a natural cave that was filled up over the years with wadi pebbles (L102) and alluvium (L108). The finds discovered were meager and included a cooking pot rim (Fig. 4:2) and a jar rim (Fig. 4:4), dating to the first century CE; they were found in the soil fill on the bedrock above the opening of the cave.
It seems that the excavated area was part of the agricultural hinterland of the farmhouse discovered to the west. The discovery ofthecrushing basin and the winepress nearby indicates that the economy of farmhouse’s occupants was apparently based on growing olive trees and vineyards for the purpose of producing oil and wine. The cave, located between the crushing basin and the winepress, might have been used for storage.