In July 2020, a salvage excavation was conducted northwest of Amazya (Permit No. A-8481; map ref. 191461/604846; Fig. 1), after antiquities were discovered during an inspection prior to the construction of a road. The excavation, undertaken on behalf of the Israel Antiquities Authority, was directed by F. Kobrin and V. Lifshitz (field photography and pottery), with the assistance of Z. Firer (preliminary probes), E. Aladjem (surveying and drafting) and S. Ganor.
The excavation (Figs. 2, 3) revealed a winepress (A–C), a bodeda (D, E) and two cupmarks (F) hewn in the nari bedrock, which were dated to the Byzantine period. Previous nearby excavations revealed remains from the Intermediate Bronze Age, the Iron Age through the Early Roman period and the Ottoman period (for background and references, see Varga and Israel 2014).
The winepress comprised a treading floor (A), a settling pit (B) and a collecting vat (C). The treading floor (3.5 × 3.5 m, depth 0.2 m) was preserved mainly in its western half. A shallow channel in the floor’s southwestern wall led to the settling pit (0.7 × 1.3 m, depth 0.5 m). A circular sump (diam. 0.35 m, depth 0.15 m) was hewn in the settling pit’s western corner. From the settling pit, a channel led westward to the collecting vat (0.9 × 1.8 m, depth 0.8 m). The vat’s floor had cracked as a result of later quarrying.
The bodeda was discovered near the northwestern side of the winepress. It consisted of an elliptical surface (D; max. diam. 1.5 m, depth 0.1 m; Fig. 4) and a round collecting vat (E; diam. 0.7 m, depth 0.4 m).
The two cupmarks were discovered between the winepress and the bodeda, and were similar in size (diam. 0.3 m, depth 0.1 m). The excavation yielded a few potsherds dated to the Byzantine period (not drawn).
The plan of the winepress is typical of the Byzantine period. Winepresses of this type were common in the agricultural hinterland of settlements in this period, for example in the Judean Shephelah (Peretz and Talis 2012; Zilberbod and Lieberman 2016; Lifshits 2017). Similar bodedas are known in the surrounding vicinity (Betzer 2010; Lifshits 2017). The winepress and the bodeda illustrate two modes of wine production: a small amount of wine was produced for domestic use in a bodeda, while a winepress produced a larger amount of wine.