In May–August 2015, a salvage excavation took place in Ramot Allon in Jerusalem (Permit No. A-7396; map ref. 219934/635831), prior to construction. The excavation, on behalf of the Israel Antiquities Authority and funded by the Aviezer association, was directed by S. Mizrahi, with the assistance of R. Abu-Halaf and N. Nehama (administration), R. Forestani, T. Lieberman, C. Arbib and S. Leshem (preliminary supervision), D. Tanami (metal detection), V. Essman and Y. Shmidov (surveying and drafting) and A. Peretz (field photography).
A simple, rock-cut winepress of unknown date and a large building (300 sq m) dated to the Iron Age IIB were uncovered on the eastern slope of a hill descending toward Nahal Soreq. Archaeological excavations and surveys were undertaken nearby in the past (for background and sources, see Mizrahi, Katsnelson and Ariel 2016).
The winepress was hewn in a bedrock surface (L200; Figs. 2, 3) containing a natural depression (L206). It comprised a treading floor (L202; 1.24 × 2.87 m, depth 4–12 cm), connected by a channel (L209) to a square filtration pit (L203; 0.62 × 0.62, depth 0.13 m). From the filtration pit a channel (L208; length 0.4 m, width 0.3 m, depth 9 cm) led to a collection vat (L201; 1 × 2 m, depth 1.6 m; Fig. 4). Two steps were cut into the walls of the collecting vat, and an oval sump was hewn in its western corner (L207; diam. 0.46 × 0.80 m, depth 0.21 m); silt and worn, non-indicative sherds were found I the sump. The collecting vat was damaged by mechanical equipment prior to the excavation and contained construction debris. Southwest of the collection vat was a round cupmark (L204; diam. 0.4 m, depth 0.1 m) which contained silt. No diagnostic finds were discovered in the winepress, and do its date is unknown.
The building (Fig. 5) included an entryway, stairwell, corridor, large central space, a room in which cooking vessels were found and three rooms which were apparently used for storage of agricultural produce. The building was terraced, conforming to the slope of the hill. The walls of the building were constructed of large limestones (max. preserved height 2 m). A monolithic pillar (height 2 m; Fig. 6) was found in one of the rooms, where it apparently was intended to support the ceiling that did not survive. The walls and the floor of the storage rooms were plastered. In the western room, two phases of plaster flooring were discerned (Fig. 7). A section of stone flooring bearing pottery sherds was uncovered in the central space (Fig. 8). The pottery found in the building—booth under the floors and on them—included large quantities of holemouth jars dating from the seventh–sixth centuries BCE.
The building unearthed in the excavation is the seventh building from the Iron Age IIB uncovered on the banks of Nahal Soreq (Mizrahi and Forestani 2016; Davidovich et al. 2006). The large quantity of holemouth jars discovered in the building and its apparent use for storage of agricultural produce is more evidence agricultural activity in the area at in the late Iron Age.
Davidovich U., Farhi Y., Kol-Yaʽakov S., Har-Peled M, Weinblatt-Krauz D. and Alon Y. 2006. Salvage Excavations at Ramot Forest and Ramat Bet-Hakerem: New Data Regarding Jerusalem’s Periphery during the First and Second Temple Periods. In E. Baruch, Z. Greenhut and A. Faust eds. New Studies on Jerusalem 11. Ramat Gan. Pp. 35–111 (Hebrew).
Mizrahi and Forestani 2016. Jerusalem, Ramot Allon. HA-ESI 128.
Mizrahi, Katsnelson and Ariel 2016. Jerusalem, Ramot Allon. HA-ESI 128.