The Western Wing. Three rooms built in a row were exposed in this wing. The middle room (2.0 × 3.2 m) served as a vestibule for the two others. The remains of a small room (2.3 × 3.2 m), which was probably used by the abbot, were located to its north, and to its south was a rectangular room (3.3 × 6.7 m), with rock-hewn foundations (max. height 1.2 m), which was filled with stones that collapsed from its walls. The southern room was probably used as a refectory (Fig. 3). Three gold coins dating to the sixth century CE were found in the southeastern corner of the vestibule, inside a shallow niche in the wall that may have been a safe.
The Northern Wing. A row of four rooms whose floors were hewn in the bedrock were exposed in this wing. The western room (2.8 × 4.3 m) served as an open entrance hall between the western and northern wings, and a throughway to a large cistern (below). A shallow channel was hewn in the floor of this room, to drain the rainwater from the courtyard into the cistern. An opening in the eastern wall led to a rock-cut step (height c. 0.5 m), descending to a square room (4.7 × 4.8 m; Fig. 4) with rock-hewn and built benches (width 0.5 m) along three walls. This room may have been used as a congregation hall. Large stones that toppled from the walls of the building were found also in this room. The entrance to the adjacent room (4.0 × 4.4 m; Fig. 5) was from the courtyard, through a doorway with a threshold (width 1.4 m). In the middle of the room was a tomb, rock-hewn and plastered, covered with four stone slabs. The tomb contained the skeleton of an adult male, perhaps the abbot. East of the tomb was a shallow, straight quarry-line, probably the base of a wall that closed the room. The rock surface east of the room had collapsed into a crypt (below). This is probably where the church of the monastery had been; a tomb was cut into the floor in the room that led to it, and the crypt was hewn below it.
The Eastern Wing. A single room was found in this wing, and most of its walls were robbed after the structure had been abandoned. Large white tesserae were found above the floor foundation. The foundation of the western wall was well-plastered, probably to prevent water damage. Very likely there were other rooms in this wing, but they could not be identified, because the stones of the building were plundered after the structure had been abandoned.
The Central Courtyard. The rectangular courtyard (10 × 20 m) was a rock-hewn but not leveled. This was apparently where the daily activities of the monastery took place. A steep staircase (Fig. 6) was hewn in the east. It descended from the surface to a built entrance with two doorjambs and a threshold, which led to the interior of a rock-hewn cave and a crypt. The wall that enclosed the monastery from the south was robbed except for the southeastern corner, which made it possible to reconstruct it. Remains of quarries, which were the source for the building stones of the complex, were outside the presumed precincts of the monastery.
The Cave. Only the western half of the cave was excavated, and its function could not therefore be determined, other than it served as a passage from the courtyard to the crypt.
The Crypt. The rectangular crypt (3.7 × 8.5 m) was enclosed by walls on three sides. A rock-hewn and built apse was set in the eastern wall, and a tomb, which was found empty, was cut at its centre (Fig. 7). The crypt was under the ground-level church, and was used by visitors, who entered it via an opening in its northern side, prayed alongside the tomb, and existed south, outside the monastery, by way of the staircase. The founder of the monastery was apparently interred in the tomb, which was robbed, or emptied when the monastery was abandoned.
The Winepress. A well-built winepress was constructed next to the eastern side of the monastery’s wall. The square treading floor (3.05 × 3.05 m; Fig. 8) was paved with a white industrial mosaic, and drained into a plastered collecting vat (1.45 × 1.45, max. depth 2.2 m). A clay basin, typical of the Byzantine period, was embedded in the northeastern corner of the vat, to drain the remainder of the must. South of the collecting vat was a hewn circular vat (diam. 0.78 m, depth 1 m). A direct-pressure screw-press was installed in the vat to express farther juice from the grape skins which had been trodden. Direct-pressure extraction was a typical feature of oil presses in the Byzantine period, but very rare in winepresses.
The Water System. The rain that fell on the roofs of the complex and in the open courtyard was collected into a large cistern, as was customary in the Judean-dessert monasteries. A shallow, hewn channel, parallel to the wall of the northern wing, in the northwestern corner of the courtyard, led to a partly covered deeper channel, which conveyed the run-off to a settling pit (diam. 1 m). The water flowed from there to a large bell-shaped cistern (diam. 9 m, depth 4 m; Fig. 9), which was located outside the northwestern corner of the monastery. The ceiling of the cistern collapsed, and only its floor and foundations were exposed.
Despite the poor preservation of the complex and the fact that most of the building-stones were robbed, it was possible to determine that the monastery functioned during the Byzantine period and covered an area of c. 0.5 dunam. Its square plan, the rock-hewn foundations of the walls, the perpendicular corners of the rooms and the repeated use of the Byzantine foot (0.32 m), show that it was designed and built as a single unit, probably within a short period of time. The material finds (fragments of pottery and glass vessels, coins and the agricultural-production installations) all date to the Byzantine period (sixth–seventh centuries CE). The relatively sparse number of artifacts and the deliberately blocked doorways of some of the rooms, suggest that the site was abandoned in an orderly manner. This monastery is another in the group of Byzantine-period monasteries known from previous studies, which were located between Jerusalem and Bethlehem.