Street Segment and Wall. Adjacent to Channel 30120 to the north is an east–west street (Street 1; L30415), made of a layer of packed clayey earth mixed with potsherds laid over yellowish sandy soil. The street underwent several repairs while in use; each repair consisted of a new sandy layer, topped by a new street surface. Northwest of Overflow Channel 30275 is a wall segment (W30392; length c. 6.4 m, width c. 0.5 m) running southwest–northeast.
Stratum VIII—Late Byzantine–Umayyad Periods
The industrial area, including Street 1, Drainage Channel 30120 and Building C, continued in use, and two new buildings (D, E) were erected.
Building D extends in the northern part of the excavation area, north of Street 1. This long northwest–southeast structure (Fig. 7) served as a storehouse and was part of the industrial area. The walls bounding the building on the north (W30550), west (W30515) and east (W42020) were fully exposed. The western end of the southern wall (W30514) was exposed as well, but it continues eastward only as a robber trench (L42023). The eastern part of the southern wall was apparently constructed over the northern end of Overflow Channel 30275. Large stones incorporated into the northwestern and southwester corners of the building protrude westward.
Inside the building was an east–west row of nine pillar bases (average size 0.45 × 0.45 m), positioned about 4 m from both the northern and southern walls of the building. Three of the bases in the eastern part of the building preserved a single course of the pillar, which was constructed of two–three rectangular ashlars (each 0.20 × 0.45 m), laid on their side adjacent to each other.
Against the outer face of the western wall of the building were the remains of a rectangular installation (L30516; 0.65 × 2.60 m), perhaps the bedding for a trough.
Building E is rectangular (c. 6.2 × 12.0 m; Fig. 8) and extends in a general north–south orientation; it served as a storehouse in the industrial area. Five square pillar bases were preserved along its central axis. The outer face of the building’s western wall (W30240) is abutted by a floor bedding (L30354) of packed earth, mixed with a white chalky material with crushed shells. Adjacent to the southern wall of the building (W30487) is a round installation (L42007), constructed of rectangular kirton blocks (0.07 × 0.22 × 0.45 m).
Stratum VII—Umayyad Period
The industrial area, including Street 1, Drainage Channel 30120 and Buildings C and E, continued in use. The western entrance of Building D, located in the western Wall 30515, was blocked by a wide built pier; the function of this building at this stage is unclear. Building E was enlarged to the south, with modifications and additions carried out within. Along the outer face of its western wall (W30240) was a smoothed plaster joint (rolkabatter) made of small fieldstones and white plaster. The western wall of the building was extended to the south by c. 10 m. Along this wall, on both its sides, were two pairs of engaged piers (the northern pair L42054 and L42055, the southern pair L42052 and L42053). An additional engaged pier (L42056), in a poor state of preservation, was found further south along the western face of the wall. A parallel pier likely existed on the eastern face of the wall, which remains outside of the excavation area.
Stratum VI—Abbasid Period
At this stage, building D went out of use; robber trenches and pits were identified throughout its area. In the northwestern corner of the building, formed by W30515 and W30550, was a refuse pit (L30584) containing a thick layer of orange brick material, apparently originating from a kiln. Underneath the brick material was a heap of small collapsed fieldstones (L30742).
Buildings C and E also went out of use at this stage, and activity in the industrial area ceased. The remains of Buildings C and E were topped by fragmentary remains of a structure with an unclear layout (Nadav-Ziv et al. 2022: Fig. 12).
Installation Without Stratigraphic Context
A clay oven (L30676; 0.5 × 1.0 m, preserved height c. 0.15 m) in the northern part of the area consists of two oval parts, perpendicular to each other. Similar ovens were found in other excavation areas adjacent to Tel Yavne (Nadav-Ziv et al. 2022: Fig. 12) and they were dated to the Abbasid period.
Area G2 (Fig. 9)
Strata XVII and XII—Iron Age and Early Roman Period(?)
Thirteen graves were exposed throughout the area; their date is unknown, but some could be stratigraphically dated to the Iron Age or the Early Roman period. Two of the graves (L31433, L31587) were cut into the kurkar bedrock and were found covered with rectangular stones. The other graves are pit graves, dug into a dark red sand layer. The graves were exposed, rudimentarily documented but not excavated; afterward, they were re-covered.
Stratum X—Early Byzantine Period
This stratum was exposed only in the southern part of the area and is associated with remains found in Area G3. It comprises patches of a floor (L31586, L31643) made of chunks of crushed white chalk, laid on a fill of coarse dark red earth (L31588) over bedrock. The floor was apparently of an open space.
Stratum IX—Late Byzantine Period
Most architectural remains in the area belong to this stratum. It appears that, like Area G1, this was part of an extensive industrial area, continuing into Area C. In the center of the area is a winery, oriented east–west and comprising two complex winepresses of identical, but mirrored, plan (Presses 5, 6). Adjacent to the winery, to its south and east, are three pillared buildings that apparently functioned as storehouses: Building F, in a general east–west orientation, abutting the winepresses from the south (its western continuation was exposed in Area G8), and Buildings G and H, in a general north–south orientation, built on sandy soil and kurkar. In the northern part of the excavation area is an additional building (B), south of which is an open area. Construction in this area shows prior-planning and industrial-scale wine production.
Winepresses 5 and 6 (Figs. 10, 11) have an identical mirrored plan. They were built together at the same time after planning the whole complex. In what follows, they will be described together, first providing the locus numbers and dimensions of Press 5, followed by those of Press 6. Press 6 was better preserved than Press 5. Each winepress comprises a treading floor paved with white industrial-grade mosaic (L31216; L31215; 42.5 sq m), as well as two octagonal collecting vats (L31412, L31414; L31408, L31409; 2.2 × 2.2 m) separated by an oval filtration tank (L31413; L31341; 1.3 × 3.0 m, depth 0.7 m).
In the center of the treading floors of both winepresses are round robber pits (diam. c. 3.5 m, depth c. 1 m), evidence of robbed fixed-screw bases that originally stood there. Based on pottery found within the robber pits, they were dated to the Early Islamic period. A stone gutter fixed in the northern wall of each treading floor connected it with the oval filtration tank to its north; the gutter was preserved only in Press 6, but its location in Press 5 was identified as well.
The collecting vats and filtration tanks were plastered and paved with mosaic; they were connected by lead pipes. At the bottom of all four collecting vats is a sump (diam. 0.8 m), and at the bottom of each of the two filtration tanks is a sump (diam. 0.35 m). Adjacent to the edges of the collecting vats, to their north and in the floors in which the vats are set, are small marble ring-like installations (Fig. 12) that apparently served as stands for Gaza jars. Between the eastern collecting vat of Press 5 and the western collecting vat of Press 6 is a shared mosaic-paved work surface (L31102; 3 × 3 m). In the northern wall of the winery, to the north of all the collecting vats, are four entrances. Each entrance was accessed from the north over a flight of steps, most of which were not preserved. Of these entrances, only one monumental threshold was preserved (length 2.7 m)—opposite the eastern collecting vat of Press 5. South of the western collecting vat of Press 5 and the eastern collecting vat of Press 6 are two pairs of semicircular niches (diam. 0.8 m; Nadav-Ziv, Haddad and Seligman 2023: Fig. 8), open to the north. The niches of Press 5 preserved only their lower courses. The niches of Press 6 are better preserved; they were plastered and evidently vaulted.
Partly preserved built compartments and niches surrounded both treading floors. To the south and west of the treading floor of Press 5 are four poorly preserved vaulted compartments (2.3 × 4.0 m). To the south and east of the treading floor of Press 6 are four additional compartments, well preserved and similar in their plan and construction details. All compartments slope toward the treading floors and are paved with industrial-grade mosaic. Their walls were coated with several layers of hydraulic plaster. A square marble slab (0.25 × 0.25 m) was incorporated into the floor of each compartment; it received the impact of liquids flowing from an upper surface, originally built above the compartment’s vaulted ceiling. A window set in the wall of each cell faced the treading floor; at the bottom of this wall, flush with the treading floor, is a drain with a lead pipe that conducted the liquids from the compartment to the treading floor. East of the treading floor of Press 5 and west of the treading floor of Press 6 were rectangular platform built of ashlar stones and above it four scallop-shaped vaulted niches (Figs. 13, 14), adjacent to each other at their back side. The niches were constructed of small stones, bonded with coarse gray plaster mixed with shells. Their ceiling was constructed of stucco made of small fieldstones, gray plaster and crushed shells; it was modeled as a scalloped seashell and plastered on the inside. The floors of the niches were constructed of rectangular ashlars, slightly inclined toward the treading floor. Inside each niche, above the stone floor, is an opening connecting all four niches.
Building F, adjacent to the winery to the south, is part of an east–west pillared structure (6.5 × 10.0 m; Fig. 15). The western part of the building, with additional pillar bases, was exposed in Areas G3 and G8. The northern wall of the building was the southern retaining wall of the winery; it was robbed, and only its robber trench was preserved (W31321). Only robber trenches were preserved of the eastern (W31618) and southern (W31649) walls of the building. Four pillar bases (L32125, L32126, L31529, L31530; 0.55 × 0.80 × 0.80 m) along the central axis of the building were constructed of small stones bonded with coarse gray plaster; they were plastered on all sides. The bases stand in a row, spaced 2.3–2.7 m apart from one another. Additional bases uncovered in Areas G3 and G8 continue this row to the west. The floor of the building was not preserved.
Building G is a north–south longitudinal structure (7.5 × 10.5 m) adjacent to the eastern side of Press 6. Only meager remains of the structure were preserved. Its eastern and western walls (W31607, W31618) were exposed, but its northern and southern walls were not preserved. The southern wall of the building may have been the continuation of Building F’s southern wall (W31649) eastward. Two pillar bases (L31532, L31563), in a poor state of preservation, were found at the center of the building.
Building H is a north–south longitudinal building (4.5 × 7.0 m) attached to Building F on the south. Its southern part was robbed. Only robber trenches remain of its eastern (W31616) and western (W31609) walls. Two pillars (L31534, L31544) were found in the building.
The Northern Building (B; 6 × 12 m), located at the northern part of the excavation area, comprises three rooms. In the large western room (6 × 8 m) is a section of an industrial-grade mosaic floor (L31123, L31141). The floor was only partly preserved; it was found at different elevations, possibly due to an earthquake. In the eastern part of the building were two rooms, northern and southern (each c. 3.0 × 3.5 m), both paved with mosaic floors (L30888 and L31075, respectively).
South of the Northern Building are patches of floors made of bonding material and packed mortar (L31124, L31162, L31163, L31171, L31212; 9.5 × 10.0 m). The floor patches are part of an open area, founded on light-colored sand and kurkar bedrock (L31142). South of this open area, immediately west of the winery, is a flight of steps (L31369), west of which lies another open space (L31387; 2.5 × 10.0 m). The two open spaces may have served as open activity areas.
Stratum VII—Umayyad Period
At this stage, the winery went out of use and underwent modifications. The area of the winepresses was reduced and some of its components were blocked up. The Northern Building was modified by the addition of partition walls and pillars.
In the southern part of Building F, at the level of the pillar bases within the structure, was an east–west channel (L31531; length 15.5 m), only part of which was exposed. A clay pipe laid in the channel was encased by small stones, bonded with coarse gray plaster mixed with shells. The channel is incorporated into the northern face of the robber trench of the southern wall of the Stratum IX building (W31649). In the east, it connects with another channel (L31631), identical in construction details and running northeast–southwest. This channel continues northeast, cutting W31607 and extending beyond the excavation area.
Three walls exposed south of Building F (W31548, W31549, W31583) may date from the Umayyad period.
The Winery. The collecting vats in Press 5 were filled with earth and went out of use. The western collecting vat 31414 was converted into a refuse pit, containing Gaza jar sherds (LRA 4; L31388). A paving of large, partly dressed stones (0.3 × 0.5 m) was laid over the fill. Large and medium-sized fieldstones were placed over the eastern collecting vat (L31412), and a paving of large stone slabs (L31357) was laid above the filtration tank (L31413). The lead pipes connecting the filtration tank with the collecting vats were blocked on either side with mortar and went out of use. The gutter connecting the filtration tank with the treading floor was filled with earth and small and medium-sized ashlars and fieldstones, and went out of use as well. The construction efforts in this phase seemed to have been aimed at leveling the mosaic floor surrounding the collecting vats.
West of Press 5 was a single course of an installation or a square room (L31370; 2.0 × 2.5 m), penetrating an earlier bedding layer. The stones of the installation were dressed on one face only, with the dressed side facing inward. The installation has two floors: an early one, made of ashlars (L31385), and a late one, made of packed earth and bonding material (L31384). A channel incorporated into the eastern wall of the installation (L31378) was constructed of two rows of small stones, as well as stone and marble panel fragments in secondary use. No plaster remains were identified on the channel’s walls or floor. The eastern terminus of the channel was at the flight of Steps 31369 from Stratum IX. The channel slopes westward, from the steps to the installation. The use of the installation remains unclear.
Both collecting vats of Press 6 went out of use; deliberate fills were placed inside them, and walls and installations were built on the fills. A small rectangular room (1.7 × 2.7 m) was built between the two collecting vats. Adjacent to the western wall of the room was a semicircular installation (L31297; diam. 0.7 m), the foundations of which were built inside the western collecting vat 31409. The openings of the compartments east of Press 6 (L31021, L31126) were blocked with medium-sized ashlars and fieldstones. A breach (0.6 × 1.1 m) in the northern wall of compartment 31021 connected the cell with the western of the two niches south of the collecting vat.
A semicircular installation (L31224; diam. 1.5 m), built against the eastern wall of Press 6 (W31244), was founded on kurkar bedrock and on red sandy soil; it was preserved 15 courses high (c. 1.3 m). Above the floor of the installation (L31393) were potsherds, mostly of cooking ware, dating from the Byzantine–Umayyad periods. In the upper part of the installation was an articulated skeleton of a small animal, likely a cat burial.
The Northern Building. The building’s western room was divided into three spaces. Three pillars were built in the northern room, on the mosaic floor of the original phase of the room (L31141). Above the mosaic floor and adjacent to the room’s walls were accumulations of brown earth with a few small fieldstones and potsherds, mostly of Gaza jars, dating from the late Byzantine–Umayyad periods.
Stratum VIAbbasid Period
The Early Phase (Stratum VIb). Throughout most of the winery—over parts of Press 5 and over the treading floor and collecting vats of Press 6—were thick fills of gray earth (average thickness 0.7 m), containing fragments of marble chancel screens, chunks of plaster and fired bricks from kiln waste. The fills were intended to level the area and adjust it to the level of the stone floors in the scallop-shaped niches of the winery. Walls built above the fill followed the orientation of the architectural remains of the earlier strata. Additional walls were built across the openings of the scallop-shaped niches (Fig. 16). Within the northern niches (L31015, L31133) was an accumulation of dark brown earth with potsherds, mostly of storage jars. Above the northern wall of the treading floor of Press 6 is a late wall (W31032; length 5 m, width 0.55 m; Fig. 16), constructed of ashlars and preserved up to three courses high (1 m). Between this wall and the walls built across the openings of the shell-shaped niches in the western part of the press was a paving of partly dressed stones (L31173).
The Northern Building continued functioning in this stratum, and the three pillars in the northern room were connected to form a single partition wall (W31046). An earth fill (thickness c. 0.5 m) was laid in the northwestern room.
The Late Phase (Stratum VIa). The four peripheral compartments of Press 5 and the southern retaining wall of the winery (W31321) were destroyed and robbed. Over an earth fill laid on the northern part of the treading floor of Press 5 was a semicircular limekiln (L31063; diam. c. 4 m). Adjacent to the kiln were some marble pieces and a cluster of limestones, likely stones from the robbed-out walls of the compartments of Press 5, used as raw material for burning in the kiln.