During August 2012, a salvage excavation was conducted in the Giv‘at Tal neighborhood of Rosh Ha-‘Ayin (Permit No. A-6582; map ref. 19641–63/66591–617), prior to construction. The excavation, undertaken on behalf of the Israel Antiquities Authority and underwritten by the contractor, Hanoch ‘Oz, was directed by A.S. Tendler, with the assistance of Y. Amrani (administration), M. Kunin (surveying), A. Peretz (field photography), H. Torge (pottery), M. Shuiskaya (drawing of finds), L. Kupershmidt (metallurgical laboratory) and D.T. Ariel (numismatics).
A terrace wall, a winepress, two bodedot and a cistern were exposed (Fig. 2).
Terrace Wall. A wall (W1; preserved height 1 m; Fig. 3) built of boulders, which formed a farming terrace, was located on the western slope of the hill. A stone clearance heap was found east of the wall.
Winepress. The winepress consisted of a treading floor and a collecting vat, hewn on a high boulder. The rectangular treading floor (L100: 2.4×3.4 m; Fig. 4) has rock-cut sides (height 0.25 m) and several natural fissures; no traces of plaster remains were discerned. The floor sloped to the west with a channel at its end, which conveyed the must to a rectangular collecting vat (L105; 1.1×2.2 m, depth c. 1 m; Fig. 5). The floor of the vat was cracked and no plaster remains were visible. A rock-hewn cupmark was located in the northeastern corner of the vat.
Bodedot. Two bodedot and two cupmarks were hewn in the bedrock west of the winepress (L104; Fig. 6). The southern cupmark (depth c. 0.5 m) might have been used as a mortar. The bodeda north of the cupmark had a round work surface and a conical collecting vat (depth c. 0.65 m). North of it was a bodeda with a relatively large work surface and a round collecting vat (depth c. 0.3 m). On the southern side of that bodeda was a secondary installation that included a niche for crushing and two grooves that drained into a separate cupmark. The installations were used to produce small amounts of liquids. Bodedot were primarily utilized to produce olive oil, but given their proximity to the winepress, they might have been used to produce ingredients that were added to the grapes or must to enhance the taste of the wine (Frankel and Ayalon 1989:29).
Cistern. A bell-shaped cistern with a round opening (L107; depth c. 4 m) was exposed west of the bodedot. A groove off to the east drained the run-off from the hillside into the cistern. South of the cistern was a shallow rectangular pit that might have been a trough. During development work north of the excavation area, an elliptical cistern (5×9 m; not marked on plan) that had a large, round opening was exposed. Two layers of plaster were discerned in the cistern, a coarse base layer with many small stones and an upper smooth layer.
The ceramic artifacts included kraters (Fig. 7:1), cooking pots (Fig. 7:2–4), hole-mouth jars (Fig. 7:5, 6), jars (Fig. 7:7, 8) and jugs (Fig. 7: 9), dating from Iron Age III to the Persian period. Fragments of pottery vessels were found in the accumulations of the collecting vats, the stone clearance heap next to the terrace wall and on the surface; it seems they were swept there from the adjacent site located in the Mizpe Afeq neighborhood. A coin from the Damascus mint and dating to the reign of Al-Asraf Khalil (1290–1293 CE; IAA 138494) was found in the accumulation of the collecting vat of the southern bodeda; it had probably been washed into the vat.
The finds reflect the ancient agricultural activity that was conducted in the region. In light of the ceramic artifacts and the proximity to the site in the Mizpe Afeq neighborhood, it is suggested that the installations exposed here were part of the agricultural hinterland of that same village.
R. Frankel and E. Ayalon. 1989. Vine, Wine Presses and Wine in Antiquity. Tel Aviv [Hebrew].