In July and August 2019, a trial excavation was conducted to the south of Kefar Sirqin (Permit No. A-8568; map ref. 193755–833/664177–659; Fig. 1). The excavation, undertaken on behalf of the Israel Antiquities Authority, was directed by D. Masarwa, with the assistance of R. Toueg (area supervision), Y. Amrani and E. Bachar (administration), Y. Shmidov and M. Kahan (surveying, drafting and photogrammetry), A. Peretz and I. Jonish (field and aerial photography), A. Dagot (GIS, GPS and location map), A. Keinan (safety), Y. Tepper (scientific guidance), U. ‘Ad, P. Gendelman and N. Getzov.
The excavation took place on farmland c. 0.5 km south of Nahal Shilo and c. 1 km north of Nahal Mazor. Migdal Zedek (Migdal Afeq) lies about 3 km northeast of the excavation area, while Antipatris is located about 3.5 km to the north and the imperial Roman road from Lod-Diospolis to Afeq-Antipatris passes nearby (see Fig. 1). Three excavation areas were opened and 29 squares were excavated (Fig. 2). The excavation uncovered a winepress from the Byzantine period (Area A) and scant remains of pottery kilns (Areas B and C); they were severely damaged by agricultural activity at the site.
Previous surveys in the region identified settlement remains and an ancient road (Kochavi and Beit-Arieh 1994: Sites 162, 163, 206, 207). The winepress in Area A was excavated in the past and dated to the fifth–seventh centuries CE (Sidi, Amit and ‘Ad 2003). It was re-excavated to establish its state of preservation and for documentation purposes. About 150 m southwest of the winepress, a Byzantine farmstead (c. 4 dunams) had previously been excavated (‘Ad 2011; ‘Azab 2016).
Area A. The excavation uncovered a complex winepress (Fig. 3) with two phases. In the earlier phase, a treading floor, a filtration pit and a collecting vat were built. A circular screw-press base was uncovered in the center of the treading floor. To the south, north and east of the treading floors, secondary raised surfaces with arched compartments beneath them were uncovered. In the later phase, another treading floor was built to the south of the main treading floor. Its sides were coated with hydraulic plaster mixed with potsherds and its floor, paved with coarse white industrial tesserae, had a small collecting vat in the center. Probes dug in the northern and eastern secondary surfaces (Figs. 4 and 5, respectively) revealed three layers of floors made of small fieldstones cemented together with gray mortar. A similar floor was also uncovered on the southern secondary surface when the winepress was originally excavated (Sidi, Amit and ‘Ad 2003).
Area B (Fig. 6). Meager remains of a pottery kiln were uncovered (L203; Fig. 7) containing a few bricks and a thin layer of ash. The outer perimeter of the kiln was not preserved and the kiln had evidently been damaged to below the base of the firebox. No datable finds were recovered, but the kiln’s proximity to the Byzantine farmstead suggests that it should be dated to the same period.
Area C (Fig. 8). Scant remains of a pottery kiln were uncovered; they included a layer of fired bricks (L507; Fig. 9), a layer of ash and charcoal fragments. This kiln was also devoid of finds, but it should probably be dated to the Byzantine period based on its proximity to the nearby farmstead.
Sidi N., Amit D. and ‘Ad U. 2003. Two Winepresses from Kefar Sirkin and Mazor. ‘Atiqot 44:253–266.