The current excavation (length c. 85 m) yielded settlement remains of two periods: the Iron Age II (late eighth–sixth centuries BCE) and the Byznatine period (fourth–seventh centuries CE). Additional remains, of uncertain date, include two cisterns, a columbarium cave and a stone quarry.
The remains from the Iron Age II include a structure (W30), rock-hewn and plastered agricultural installations—a winepress with treading floors and basins—and ceramic finds. The latter include a LMLK MMST seal impression of the double-wing type on a jar handle (Fig. 3), attributed to the reign of King Hezekiah and associated with the tax system of the Judahite cities. It has been suggested that MMST be identified as Ramat Rahel to the south of Jerusalem (Barkay 2006).
The remains from the Byzantine period include a small structure, a bathhouse (Figs. 4, 5), two hewn pit graves, a complex winepress and a rock-cut and plastered cistern. The lower part of the bathhouse was hewn, and its upper part was built. Its plan is of the row type, with all of its rooms arranged along a single axis: the furnace (praefurnium; L144); the hot room (caldarium; L152), with its subsurface heating system (hypocaust); the tepid room (tepidarium; L151), with an entrance in its western wall and a subsurface heating system; the cold room (fridgidarium; L150), with an entrance and access steps in its southeastern corner; and the dressing room (apodyterium; L140), paved with white mosaic decorated with red cross medallions (Fig. 6). The finds included ceramic vessels, lamps and pipes, glass vessels and lamps, coins and marble slabs.
Additional finds from the site attest to activity in the Neolithic, Chalcolithic, Hellenistic, Hasmonean, Roman and British Mandate periods: flint artifacts were dated to the Neolithic period; a black stone seal bearing a relief of a kneeling ibex (Fig. 7) was dated to the Chalcolithic period; pottery sherds were found from the Hellenistic to the Roman periods; and a find from the British Mandate was a metal military helmet from the battles in the Sha‘ar Hagāy area during the War of Independence.
The remains and the artifacts from the Iron Age II, including the LMLK MMST jar handle, attest to the presence of a farm at the site, and of its contribution to the Judahite Kingdom’s tax system in the late eighth century BCE. The pottery assemblage indicates that the settlement continued in existence until the destruction of the First Temple in 586 BCE.
The remains from the Byzantine period, the location of the site along the ancient road and the inscription discovered nearby support the assumption that the site comprised a farmhouse that also served as a way station during this period. The economy of the station seems to have been based on wine production in the summer and bathing services all year round. Other Byzantine bathhouses have been discovered at sites that served as way stations in Judah and the Jerusalem region, such as Khirbat el-Jiljil/Beit Jimal, Horbat Hazan, on Mount Scopus and at the Monastery of Euthymius in Ma‘ale Adummim.