In November 2012, a salvage excavation was conducted south of Nahal Yarmut (Permit No. A-6625; map ref. 199069/623880; Fig. 1), prior to the paving of a road to Ramat Bet Shemesh C. The excavation, undertaken on behalf of the Israel Antiquities Authority and financed by the Ministry of Construction and Housing, was directed by R. Greenwald, with the assistance of N. Nahama (administration), A. Hajian and M. Kunin (surveying and drafting), A. Peretz (photography) and N. Zak (plans). Before the start of the excavation Y. Stad and S. גונדלר inspected the site and prepared it for excavation.
Area A. The bodeda (L100; Figs. 3, 4) was hewn in a bedrock outcrop and included a crushing basin (diam. 0.7 m, depth 0.1 m) and a circular collecting vat (diam. 0.3 m, depth 0.25 m) connected by a short, shallow channel. There are many rock-cut bodedot intended for agricultural use in the region.
Area B. The rock-hewn winepress (Fig. 5) consisted of a shallow, square treading floor (L102; 3 × 3 m) and a collecting vat (L104; 1.4 × 1.6 m, depth 1.4 m; Fig. 6) linked by two short channels. The eastern wall of the treading floor was not preserved. A niche (0.10 × 0.25 m, height 0.2 m; Fig. 7) was hewn in the western wall of the collecting vat. In a later phase, a bell-shaped pit (L113; 2.4 × 3.0 m, depth 0.9 m) was carelessly quarried into the collecting vat’s floor. A depression (0.5 × 1.0 m, depth 0.35 m; Fig. 8) was cut on the eastern side of the floor of Pit 113.
Area C. The cave’s opening faced northwest (Fig. 9). Two parallel walls (W10, W11; Fig. 10) built on bedrock and oriented in a northeast–southwest direction were exposed near the opening. A fill consisting of soil and small stones was found between the walls. A layer of dark ash containing burnt remains abutted W10 from the west. The cave opening was lower than the elevation of the bedrock surface. Two doorjambs (Fig. 11) flanking a threshold made of dressed stones were set on bedrock in the opening. A recess (Fig. 12) was observed in the upper part of the northeastern doorjamb, and plaster was discovered on the southwestern doorjamb. The side of the threshold stone facing inwards was worn from use (Fig. 13); it thus seems that the cave was not used for burial but rather utilized as a dwelling or for storing wine that was produced in the adjacent winepress. The cave was filled with soil and stones; a probe excavated right in front of the cave revealed three levels (Fig. 14). The upper level included soil, fieldstones and collapsed rock from the ceiling; the middle level included ash; and the bottom level consisted of brown soil.
Billig Y. 2012. Bet Shemesh, Ramat Bet Shemesh. HA-ESI 124
Dagan Y. 2010. The Ramat Bet Shemesh Regional Project: The Gazetteer (IAA Reports 46). Jerusalem.