Subterranean Complex (Fig. 2). Two hewn vertical entrance shafts (L45—diam. 1.2 m, depth 2.1 m; Fig. 3; L47—diam. 0.8–1.0 m, depth 1.9 m) descended to narrow tunnels; one was short (L44; length 1.5 m, width 0.6 m) and the other was long and extended along a U-shaped course (L46; width 0.50–0.65 m, height 0.9 m). The eastern side of Tunnel 46 had been destroyed when the area was prepared for construction (Fig. 4). The tunnels led to a central chamber (L25; 2.1 × 2.4 m, max. height 1.25 m) whose southern side was breached in the modern era (Fig. 5). Small niches for placing lamps were hewn in several places along the sides of the chamber and in the tunnels. Pottery dating to the period between the Great Revolt and the Bar Kokhba uprising (70–135 CE) was found in the main chamber, including two complete cooking pans (Figs. 6:2; 7) and jars, three of which were complete (Figs. 6:4; 8). A small perforation was drilled in the shoulder of two intact jars, indicating they were used for must fermentation. The gas emitted during the fermentation process escaped via the hole and upon completion of the fermentation the hole was sealed with lead (see the discussion in ‘Atiqot 55:30–31 [Hebrew]).
Numerous pottery finds dating to the third–fourth centuries CE were discovered in the tunnels and shafts, including jars (Fig. 6:5–7) and saqiye jars (Fig. 6:8). It seems that the complex was used as a refuse pit in this phase.
Complex Winepress. Two phases, which based on the installation’s components are dated to the Byzantine period (Fig. 9), were identified. The winepress in the early phase included a treading floor (L42), a circular settling pit (L37; diam. 1.4 m) and a rectangular collecting vat (L35). Only the foundation remains of the treading floor had survived, as well asthe foundations of a channel that extended from the floor to the settling pit. The sides of the settling pit were coated with a thick layer of light pink plaster and its bottom was paved with a white mosaic, to which light colored hydraulic plaster was applied. A hewn conduit (length 1.1 m) extended from the settling pit to the collecting vat (overall dimensions 2.1 x 2.9 m, depth 1.5 m, c. 9 cu m), which was coated with a thick layer of light pink hydraulic plaster that was applied to a basal layer of mortar and ground potsherds. The vat was damaged in the modern era while being used as a cesspit; part of it is located beyond the excavation limits.
The late phase of the winepress (sixth–seventh centuries CE) included a treading floor (L27), two settling pits (L29, L30) and two collecting vats (L28, L33; Fig. 10). The treading floor was paved with a white mosaic, whose southwestern part was only exposed. It was partially built on the treading floor of the early phase, although it seems not to have covered the western and southern parts of the earlier floor. The eastern part of the treading floor had been excavated in the past. The settling pits and collecting vats were coated with a thick layer of light pink hydraulic plaster that was applied to a basal layer of mortar and ground potsherds. The bottoms of the pits and vats were paved with a white mosaic, except for Vat 28 whose floor was not preserved. A hewn perforation led from Settling pit 29 (1.0 × 1.5 m, depth 0.4 m) to Collecting Vat 33 (diam. 2.7 m, depth 1.5 m, c. 8.6 cu m; Fig. 11). Two plastered limestone steps were built in the eastern side of Vat 33. A sump (L34; diam. 0.7 m, depth 0.6 m) was hewn in the center of the vat. A hewn perforation led from Settling Pit 30 (0.5 × 0.8 m, depth 0.3 m) to Collecting Vat 28 (1.6 × 1.8 m, depth 0.8 m, c. 2.3 cu m). Most of Vat 28 was destroyed when a wall (W40) was built inside it during the Abbasid period (eighth–tenth centuries CE). Pottery from this period, including bowls (Fig. 6:9, 10), was discovered when dismantling W40, which was built of large fieldstones and appears to be part of a larger structure that was exposed in an excavation east of here. Another vat (L31; 0.6 × 1.2 m, depth 0.6 m) was exposed west of Vat 29; its sides were coated with two layers of hydraulic plaster, the top one was light colored and thin (thickness 0.5 cm) and the bottom layer—light pink and thick (thickness 1.5 cm). The bottom of the vat was paved with light colored mortar into which potsherds were inserted vertically. The function of the vat is unclear; however, it was probably connected to another installation that was mostly located west of the excavation area. Remains of other plastered installations (L41, L48) were discovered north and west of Vat 28. A wall (W10) preserved from a modern structure was discovered east of the winepress.
A tabun (L43) set above the bedrock was exposed below the southwestern corner of the treading floor (L39). The ceramic artifacts discovered in its vicinity included a bowl (Fig. 6:1) and a cooking pot (Fig. 6:3), dating to the first–second centuries CE, when the subterranean complex was in use.
Yael Gorin Rosen
Ten fragments of glass vessels were discovered in the excavation; only two could be dated. The first is a fragment of a rounded rim that belongs to a beaker or a bowl. The glass has a yellowish green hue and the vessel probably dates to the end of the Roman period, based on the quality of the material and the weathering. The second is a body fragment with an unusual decoration (Fig. 12). This vessel is adorned with white threads combed into a feather pattern and marvered. The inlay is superficial and where the crust peeled off, nothing remained of the decoration. The glass is bluish green and covered with patches of brown, gray and white crust; in places where the decoration is evident, the weathering is gold colored. Complete vessels decorated in this technique are known from collections, including a fine jug from the Israel Museum collection (Israeli Y. 2003. Ancient Glass in the Israel Museum. The Eliahu Dobkin Collection and Other Gifts. Jerusalem, p. 187, Cat. No. 221), which is dated to the fourth century CE and ascribed to the Eastern Mediterranean. Several fragments with a similar decoration were discovered in excavations; one such fragment originated in a fourth century CE fill of a settling pool at Ras el-‘Ein, Shechem. The decoration appears on a conical beaker that was apparently used as a lamp (Magen Y. 2005. Flavia Neapolis: Shechem in the Roman Period [JSP 5]. Jerusalem, Pl. 17:9).