Rock-hewn Winepress (Figs. 3, 4). The winepress was hewn in nari that had fractured in recent centuries, probably as a result of ground pressure (S. Marco, pers. comm.). It consists of a large treading floor (L106; 2.5 × 2.6 m, depth 0.3–0.5 m); a small treading floor, only part of which survived (L133; preserved dimensions 0.9 × 2.0 m, max. depth 0.18 m); a settling pit (L129; 0.55 × 0.80 m, max. depth 0.5 m); and a collecting vat (L130; 1.1 × 1.2 m, depth 1.33 m). A through-hole (diam. 0.1 m) that led to Settling Pit 129 was hewn in the western wall of Treading Floor 106. It seems that Treading Floor 133 was destroyed as a result of natural weathering; no connection was detected between it and the rest of the winepress components. A shallow sump (diam. 0.2 m, depth 0.1 m) was hewn in the southeastern corner of the floor of Settling Pit 129. A through-hole was hewn in the bedrock wall between the settling pit and the collecting vat. A square bedrock protrusion (height 0.1 m) was located at the bottom of Collecting Vat 130. A small pressing niche (diam. 0.2 m) and a shallow surface (0.40 × 0.47 m) were hewn in the bedrock adjacent to the southern wall of the collecting vat. A rock-cut cupmark (L134; diam. 0.85 m, depth 0.49 m) was discovered south of Vat 130, and another cupmark (diam. 0.3 m, depth 0.3 m) was hewn east of Cupmark 134. The winepress was covered with brown alluvium that contained potsherds dating to the Iron Age II and the Mamluk period, as well as modern Gaza ware.
Walls Enclosing Agricultural Areas. Walls 118 and 140 were parallel and visible on the surface for quite a distance (W140: c. 200 m long; W118: c. 50 m long). They were built along an east–west axis, c. 100 m apart. The walls apparently enclosed agricultural areas. Both walls, similarly built, were founded on soil that had accumulated on bedrock. They were well preserved, even though they were constructed without foundation trenches or any other support, probably due to the stability of the ground.
Three excavation squares were opened, two along W118 and one along W140 (Figs. 5–7). Two similar building phases were discerned in the construction of both walls. In the early phase, the walls (max. width: W118—3 m; W140—2.2 m) were built of two parallel rows of medium- to large-sized stones arranged in one–two courses, with soil fill between them that contained small, non-diagnostic potsherds. In the later building phase, new walls consisting of a single course of stones (maxim. Height: W141—0.7 m; W147—0.5 m) were carelessly constructed upon the earlier walls, probably in order to raise the height of the walls. The later walls were not as well preserved as those of the earlier phase, due to their haphazard construction. The later building phase of W118 was preserved only along the wall’s northern face. Later on, W118 was covered with heaps of large stones that had been cleared from nearby fields. The western end of W118, which was near the winepress, ended in a properly-built corner. It seems that the builders of the wall knew of the winepress’s location and may even have used it, and thereby avoided damaging it. Several small, non-diagnostic potsherds were recovered from the soil fills discovered on both sides of the walls. The walls were probably erected within in the past hundred years.
Field Walls (Figs. 8, 9). Eight squares were opened in the center of the excavation area, yielding the remains of similarly built field walls (W113, W121, W131) and collapsed building stones (L114, L125, L135). The walls were founded on bedrock; depressions and pits in the bedrock were filled with stones to create leveled surfaces. The walls, built of large stones (0.4–0.5 × 0.5–0.6 m), were constructed along a general north–south axis. They were preserved to a height of just one course; it was impossible to determine the walls’ original width or height. Apparently, W113, W121 and W131 were part of a single system. The walls were founded on a fill of small stones (L117, L122) used to level the bedrock; its remains were discerned slightly west of W113 and W121. The pottery found while excavating the walls consists mainly of ribbed body sherds, as well as potsherds from the Iron Age II and the Roman and Byzantine periods. The Iron II finds were discovered on bedrock, beneath the wall levels; they included carinated bowls, some red-slipped and burnished (Fig. 10:2–5), kraters with a thickened and inverted rim (Fig. 10:6–12), a cooking pot (Fig. 10:13), jars (Fig. 10:14, 15) and holemouth jars (Fig. 10:16–18). A cooking pot rim (Fig. 10:1), dating to the end of the Middle Bronze Age, was also discovered. These potsherds are probably indicative of ancient activity at the site, which must have been associated with adjacent Iron II settlements, such as Tel Bet Shemesh and Tel Yarmut. A roof-tile fragment dating to the Roman period was found on the surface (Fig. 11). It bears an inscription, possibly the name 'Tiberius B(ellicius) S(o)llers', which appears on stamped impressions roof-tiles in Rome.
The site yielded remains of constructed features utilized for agricultural activities, as was the case at many sites along Nahal Yarmut in Ramat Bet Shemesh. On the basis of the pottery, it seems that the earliest activity at the site occurred during the Iron Age II. The field walls apparently date to the Roman and Byzantine periods, while the two long walls enclosing cultivation plots were built in the modern era, illustrating the continuity of agricultural activity in the region for millennia.