The Winepress. A winepress whose treading surface was not preserved was located in the southeastern corner of the excavation area. A settling pit (L104) and a collecting vat (L103) hewn in the kurkar bedrock were exposed. The walls and floor of the settling pit (1.0 × 1.1 m, depth 0.49 m) were coated with white plaster mixed with fragments of ribbed jars of red clay. A sump in the southwestern corner of the pit’s floor (upper diam. 0.5 m, depth 0.15 m) served to collect the remains of the must. The collecting vat (2.0 × 2.2 m, depth 1.8 m) was almost square and its walls were also coated with white plaster mixed with ribbed jar fragments of red clay. Two or three plastered stairs were built in the southwestern corner and its floor was a coarse white mosaic laid atop mortar bedding that contained potsherds. North of the stairs was a circular sump (diam. 0.52, depth 0.3 m), whose bottom was paved with a coarse white mosaic. The collecting vat contained several very large fragments of ribbed jars and an intact oil lamp (Fig. 3:2), dating to the Byzantine period.

 

It is presumed that the treading surface (L105) was located on the east side, next to the two vats and opposite the stairs. Based on the size of the vats the treading surface seems to have measured c. 5 × 5 m.

 

The winepress went out of use during the Byzantine period, judging by the ceramic finds recovered from the collecting vat. Apparently, it should be ascribed to the ‘four square’ type winepress that was common mainly in the center of the country, around the Tel Aviv area and to its southeast, and to a lesser extent in the region extending from the Yizra’el Valley in the north to the Hevron Hills in the south.

 

Refuse Pits. Shallow, natural pits (Loci 100–102) in the kurkar bedrock were discovered in the rest of the excavation squares. The pits contained a large quantity of ceramic finds from the Hellenistic period, including bowls (Fig. 2:1, 2), several cooking pots (Fig. 2:3, 4), jars (Fig. 2:5, 6), a few amphorae (Fig. 2:7–9) and an intact oil lamp (Fig. 3:1), as well as ribbed body fragments of jars from the Byzantine period.