During February 2002 an excavation was conducted at Kh. ‘Alya (Permit No. A-3580*; map ref. NIG 22510/76920; OIG 17510/26920; ‘Atiqot 28:1–31; ESI 19:5*–6*) to document the antiquities along the Tarshiha-Me‘ona road, damaged by the digging of a drainage channel. The excavation, on behalf of the Antiquities Authority and financed by the Ma‘ale Yosef Regional Council, was directed by Y. Lerer, assisted by A. Hajian (surveying and drafting) and Y. Ya‘aqobi (administration).
One square was opened along the eastern side of the drainage channel (Fig. 1). The northeastern corner of a building, whose continuation was severed by the drainage channel, was exposed. The walls (W10, W11), built of ashlars (length per side 0.5–0.7 m) without bonding material, had survived to a length of 1.6 m and were preserved two–three courses high. A fragmented mosaic floor (0.6 × 2.5 m) that consisted of large white tesserae (size of each facet 3–5 cm) abutted the walls. It was also visible in the western section of the drainage channel, although its western continuation, toward the road, was not excavated due to safety considerations. The floor and the walls were founded on a bedding of plaster mixed with burnt olive waste and flat stones (diam. 0.3–0.4 m). The mosaic floor probably served as a treading surface of a winepress.
A small amount of worn potsherds, dating to the Byzantine period, was found above the mosaic floor. Below the plaster bedding were pottery fragments from the Early Bronze Age, mixed with Byzantine potsherds, which evidence the penetration of the building into the earlier layers of the site.