In December 2015, a salvage excavation was conducted south of Khirbat Umm edh-Dhiyab in Neighborhood E1, Ramat Bet Shemesh (Permit No. A-7584; map ref. 200366/623349; Fig. 1). The excavation, undertaken on behalf of the Israel Antiquities Authority and financed by the Ministry of Construction and Housing, was directed by S. Hirshberg, with the assistance of N. Nahama (administration), M. Kunin, A. Hajian and M. Kahan (surveying and drafting), A. Peretz (photography), B. Touri (safety), D. Ben-Ami (scientific advice), S. Gendler, Y. Tzur, O. Shalev and B. Storchan.
Rock-Hewn Winepress. A simple winepress (Figs. 2, 3) was exposed, consisting of a rectangular treading floor (L100; 2.2 × 3.0 m) that sloped to the southwest and a rectangular collecting vat (L101; 0.8 × 1.8 m), connected by two short channels (length 0.20–0.25 m, width 0.1 m, depth 0.1 m). The floor of the collecting vat was uneven and there was a 0.2 m difference in elevation between the higher and lower parts, possibly because the vat was unfinished. A small depression in the vat’s floor between the higher and lower parts may have served as a sump or may have been formed by the height differential. The winepress, small and simple, was probably intended for domestic rather than industrial use.
Cupmark. A circular rock-hewn cupmark (diam. 0.4 m, depth 0.35 m; Fig. 2) was found.
Terrace Wall. An agricultural terrace retaining wall was discovered (W107; exposed length 1.9 m, width 0.45 m; Figs. 2, 4). The wall, constructed of medium-sized and large fieldstones arranged along a northwest–southeast axis, was preserved to a height of one course.
Field Towers. Two field towers were discovered, c. 7 m apart. They were built on the southwestern slope of a spur; only their foundations survived (Fig. 5). The eastern tower was mainly built of medium-sized to large fieldstones (Fig. 6). Several ashlars and large dressed stones found in the tower were in secondary use; they were probably brought there from Khirbat Umm edh-Dhiyab. The structure was preserved to a maximum height of 2 m. The foundation of an agricultural terrace retaining wall was uncovered slightly east of the field tower. After concluding the excavation, the field tower was dismantled by means of a backhoe in order to discover datable finds, but none were found.
The western field tower was constructed of medium-sized fieldstones with smaller stones between them and was preserved to a maximum height of 0.6 m. After the field tower ceased use, stone clearance was piled on top of it (Fig. 7). Following the conclusion of the excavation, the structure was dismantled by means of a backhoe in order to uncover datable finds; however, none were discovered.
Dagan Y. 2010. The Ramat Bet Shemesh Regional Project: The Gazetteer
(IAA Reports 46). Jerusalem.