During March–April 2006, a salvage excavation was conducted west of Khirbat Ibreika, along the route of a sewer (Permit No. A-5123; map ref. NIG 19617–8/67874–5; OIG 14617–8/17874–5), in the wake of damage to antiquities. The excavation, undertaken on behalf of the Israel Antiquities Authority and underwritten by South Sharon Regional Council, was directed by D. Masarwa, with the assistance of S. Ya‘aqov-Jam (administration), A. Hajian (surveying and drafting), T. Sagiv (field photography), R. Vinitsky (metallurgical laboratory) and R. Kool (numismatics).
Remains of buildings whose date ranged from the Roman to the Ottoman periods had been uncovered in excavations conducted in and around Khirbat Ibreika (‘Atiqot
53:37*–43*, HA-ESI 118; HA-ESI 118; License Nos. B-30/1996-01, G-89/1997).
Two squares were opened and part of a winepress, with two treading floors and a working surface, was exposed (Figs. 1, 2).
Treading Floors. The floors were composed of small tesserae set in a bedding of tamped hamra. An earlier mosaic floor of larger tesserae was discerned below them (L117). The eastern treading floor (L104; width 4 m) was enclosed on the east by a fieldstone wall (W109), preserved a single course high. The treading floors were separated by a row of fieldstones and mortar to which a layer of white plaster was applied (W110); both were delineated on the south by a fieldstone wall, coated on the inside and outside with white plaster and preserved a single course high (W102).
Working Surface. The surface (L105) was adjacent to the south of W102. It was built of small fieldstones, set on a bedding of fine mortar and severed by a modern trench. Two circular collecting vats were incorporated in the surface (L100, L101). Their sides, built of medium-sized fieldstones, were coated with a layer of mud plaster in which potsherds were embedded. The eastern Vat 100 (diam. 1.8 m, depth 1.6 m; Fig. 3) had a coarse white mosaic floor and a plastered sump in its southeastern corner (L108); the sides of the vat were coated with a layer of hydraulic plaster. A plastered channel (L106) drained the liquid from the eastern treading floor into the vat. The western Vat 101 was smaller (diam. 1.1 m, depth 1. 6 m). A partly preserved distribution vat (L107), its floor and sides coated with white plaster, that probably linked to the collecting vats by pipes was also exposed.
A few worn and non-diagnostic potsherds were recovered from the excavation. A coin of Agrippa I (Jerusalem mint; 41/42 CE; IAA 112119) was discovered between the stones of W109 at the northern end.
This winepress joins the large complex winepress that had previously been exposed to the east of the site and it testifies to the importance of the wine industry in the region during the Roman and Byzantine periods.