Khirbat Umm es-Samad
An Ottoman-period structure (Fig. 1:12) was documented and several installations (Fig. 1:1–3, 6–8, 10, 42–45, and one unnumbered) were cleaned and excavated at the site (Dagan 2010: Sites 74, 81).
Columbarium and winepress (Fig. 1:1). The remains of a rock-cut columbarium with four rows of niches hewn in its eastern wall could be seen on the surface (Figs. 2, 3). It was mostly destroyed, and its ceiling did not survive. On the rock surface above the columbarium’s western wall was a small hewn winepress, featuring a treading floor and two round collecting vats, probably dating from the Second Temple period.
Installation (Fig. 1:2). The installation (Figs. 4, 5) was identified as a winepress in the survey (Nagorsky 2008). It comprises a rectangular depression (2.5 × 4.0 m) hewn in a rock outcrop with two cone-shaped vats (diam. 0.6 m, depth 0.4 m) in its center, set c. 2.0 m apart. No datable finds were retrieved.
Pair of winepresses (Fig. 1:3). Two winepresses were hewn in two adjacent outcrops (Figs. 6, 7). Large fieldstones set between the two outcrops served as the foundation for a white plaster floor (width 0.97 m). The southern winepress featured a treading floor (1.5 × 2.7 m, depth 0.3 m) and two collecting vats, to its west (diam. 1.9 m, depth 1.21 m) and south (diam. 0.84–0.97 m); a sump was hewn in the floor of each collecting vat, and shelf-like surfaces were cut into the vats’ walls, possibly for placing vessels. The northern winepress had a trapezoid treading floor (0.58 × 1.30 × 1.78 m), and a channel to its west led to an ovoid collecting vat (diam. 0.55–1.05 m, depth 0.8 m); the channel was blocked with fieldstones. A few sherds found scattered on the surface include a holemouth from the Chalcolithic period (Fig. 8:1); jars from the Iron Age (Fig. 8:4), from the Hasmonean period (Fig. 8:5–7) and from the Hellenistic–Early Roman periods (Fig. 8:8); a juglet from the Early Roman period (Fig. 8:9); bowls from the Roman–Byzantine periods (Fig. 8:11, 12), including a Jerusalem bowl. A small fragment of a Herodian lamp was also found (not drawn).
Walls (Fig. 1: 6, 7). Near Structure 12 were two walls preserved to a height of one course (width 0.75 m, height 0.3 m; Figs. 9, 10). An installation (0.70 × 1.03 m; Fig. 11) was hewn in a rock outcrop adjacent to W7; it comprised two flat rock steps that led to a round cupmark (diam. 0.25 m, depth 5 cm). Two rock outcrops to the east of the installation had each a hewn cupmark (diam. 0.17 and 0.24 m). Jar fragments from the Iron Age (Fig. 8:2, 3) and the Roman–Byzantine periods (Fig. 8:12), as well as a cooking pot and a jug from the Umayyad period (Fig. 8:13, 14) were found near the installation. The walls were probably associated with the installation, and likewise served agricultural purposes.
Cluster of installations (Fig. 1:8). Five installations (1–5; Figs. 12, 13) were hewn in a rock outcrop; no datable finds were discovered. Installation 1 is an ovoid surface (0.2 × 2.3 m) with a round vat (diam. 0.74 m) in its center, which is surrounded by five small cupmarks. Installation 2 is a rock-cut surface (0.84 × 1.00 m). Installation 3 is probably a winepress (1.2 × 4.0 m), comprising a treading floor (1.75 × 2.10 m) and a collecting vat (0.6 × 1.1 m, depth 0.37 m). Installation 4 is a winepress comprising an irregularly shaped treading floor (2.40 × 2.75 m) and a rectangular collecting vat (0.96 × 1.66 m, depth 0.99 m). The corners of the treading floor are rounded, and a round depression was hewn in its center. Installation 5 comprises rock-cuttings in three adjacent outcrops, including a large round vat (diam. 0.45 m, depth 0.52 m), a small round vat (diam. 0.11 m, depth 0.1 m) and an ovoid surface (diam. 0.55–0.60 m) with an adjacent vat (0.25 × 0.34 m, depth 0.25 m).
Winepress (Figs. 1:10; 14). The winepress, hewn in a rock outcrop, comprised an ovoid treading floor (diam. 1.5–2.0 m) and a small, ruined collecting vat. The vat was connected to the treading floor via a shallow channel. No datable finds were found.
Structure (Fig. 1:12). The structure, which dates from the Ottoman period, was not excavated, but it was clear that it is built over an earlier building. Nearby were several sherds from the Early Bronze Age and the Hasmonean period (not drawn), as well as coins. These included coins of Alexander Jannaeus (IAA 12001, 12002), an imitation coin of Alexander Jannaeus (IAA 12003), an early Byzantine coin (383–395 CE; IAA 10001), an Arab-Byzantine coin (641–697 CE; IAA 47002) and a 1-mil coin (IAA 10002).
Stone clearance heaps (Fig. 1:42–45). Four stone clearance heaps were excavated using a mechanical tool; no datable finds were retrieved.
Olive press (?; Figs. 12, 13). The remains of a round rock-cut crushing surface and what was probably a rock-cut pressing installation were uncovered. The crushing surface (2.78 × 2.80 m) was partly paved with fieldstones, and a round depression was carved into its eastern wall. The rock cuttings which comprised what was probably a pressing installation were identified on three rock outcrops: a groove for a pressing beam was hewn in the northern outcrop; the central outcrop bore a square surface with a pressing vat (diam. 0.38 m, depth 0.51 m) in its center and a shallow channel that led from the vat to the northwest, toward an ovoid basin (diam. 0.38–1.2 m); and the southern outcrop was hewn into a level surface (1.9 × 2.0 m).
A probe carried out using mechanical equipment near ‘Ein Fttir—today two wells in the wadi (Dagan 2010: Site 82)—revealed concrete structures, apparently from the time of the British Mandate (Fig. 1:24–26). Remains of ancient buildings were also found in the vicinity (see Dagan 2010: Site 83), but they were not excavated due to the flooding of the area with water. A quarry (Fig. 1:32) and acompound containing three installation clusters (Fig. 1:33) were excavated. A few sherds were collected at the site. These date from the Roman, Byzantine, Mamluk and Ottoman periods (Fig. 17:1, 3, 5–9) along with fragments of glass vessels dated to the Byzantine period (not drawn).
The quarry (Figs. 1:32; 18; 19) was uncovered at the foot of the northern slope of the hill. It revealed a few boulders at various stages of quarrying.
The installation compound (Fig. 1: 33) extended over the northern slope of the hill, where three clusters of installations were identified. The first cluster included a partially hewn crushing stone or lower stone of an olive press (yam; 2.58 × 3.80 m; Figs. 20, 21). To its north was a basin/cupmark (diam. 0.56 m, depth 0.31 m). The second cluster included rock-cut channels and cupmarks in several rock outcrops (Figs. 22, 23). A group of adjacent rock outcrops in the southern part of this cluster were apparently one outcrop that had split into a number of boulders. The third cluster comprised a large winepress and several installations. The winepress is of a simple type (52 sq m; Fig. 24) and was hewn in accordance with the fissures that split the rock outcrop into several boulders. The winepress comprised a rectangular treading floor (2.00 × 4.57 m) and a rectangular collecting vat connected to it by a channel. A depression was cut in the center of the treading floor for a screw-press (depth 0.62 m), and a sump was hewn in the floor of the collecting vat. The collecting vat was coated with white plaster mixed with sherds and was paved with white mosaic, most of which had been since removed. A collecting vat was hewn immediately to the west of the winepress, and a round basin was hewn in a boulder further to the west; these may have belonged to one or more additional installations, but the excavation was not extended westward. Fragments of a jar and of a ceramic pipe from the Byzantine period (Fig. 17:2, 4) were retrieved in the earthen fill in the winepress.
The finds from the excavation attest to human activity at the site of Umm es-Samad during the Chalcolithic period, and that from the Iron Age to the Roman–Umayyad periods it was agricultural in nature, with a focus on the cultivation of vineyards and the production of wine. The columbarium should probably be associated with activity at the site during the Hasmonean period. The nearby site of Kh. Faṯṯir saw agricultural activity in the Byzantine–Umayyad periods and apparently during the Ottoman period as well. These finds fit in well with the results of a regional survey which included these sites (Dagan 2010).