In August 2015, an excavation was conducted in the ‘Emeq Sara Industrial Zone in south Be’er Sheva‘ (Permit No. A-7486; map ref. 182651–91/569607–51; Fig. 1), prior to the construction of a factory. The excavation, undertaken on behalf of the Israel Antiquities Authority and financed by the Cebus Rimon Industrialized Construction Company, Ltd., was directed by F. Kobrin (surveying, drafting and field photography), with the assistance of N. Zak (plan).
The excavation unearthed a circular collecting vat of a winepress (L101; outer diam. 1.8 m, inner diam. 1.4 m, preserved depth 1.41 m; Figs. 2–5). Its upper part was destroyed, suggesting that its was damaged when the original surface level was removed along with all the other winepress components. The vat was dug into loess soil and lined with small and medium-sized, roughly hewn stones (0.10 × 0.22 × 0.35 m) bonded with mortar and treated with a thick layer of hydraulic plaster (thickness c. 3 cm). The vat’s floor was paved with large white industrial tesserae and a trapezoidal stone slab, which was placed in the northern part of the vat. A foundation made of concrete and small fieldstones was discovered beneath the floor. The central part of the vat’s floor was damaged, where apparently there had been a settling pit with an embedded vessel, possibly made of pottery or stone; the damage may have occurred when the vessel was removed. A layer of brown soil and medium-size stones filled the upper part of the vat. Collapsed stones and earth (L103) were discovered beneath this layer, at a depth of 0.53 m from the upper edge of the vat. The excavation inside the vat yielded body fragments of Byzantine-period pottery vessels. No construction remains whatsoever were discovered in the vicinity of the collecting vat. It seems that the winepress that was situated there was related to the Byzantine-period building, whose remains are located c. 20 m to the northwest.