Stratum III (Byzantine Period)
A winepress (Figs. 1, 2) that consisted of treading floors paved with mosaics (Loci 514, 542) and collecting vats (Loci 509, 523), arranged in L-shape, was exposed. Walls built of elongated ashlar stones (W510, W512) delimited the trapezoid-shaped area of the collecting vats, which dictated their plan and indicated they were built at the same time. The western collecting vat (L523) had an elongated trapezoidal shape and its sides and floor were coated with hydraulic plaster; a settling pit was cut in the southern part of the floor (Fig. 1: Section 2-2). Attached to the western side of Collecting Vat 523 was a wall (W530) built of a single row of ashlar stones to a height of a single course. It seems that W530 served as a step, upon which covering slabs were placed.
The eastern collecting vat (L509) was also trapezoidal, had plastered walls, a circular settling pit in the northeastern corner and steps next to the western side (Fig. 1: Section 1-1).
The upper part of W512 was lined with mortar, whereas the tops of the other walls (W527–W529) and the steps alongside W527 were covered with white mosaics (2 × 2 cm). No direct connection was discerned between the collecting vats; however, it is assumed that a connection was below W543 that was ascribed to Stratum II (Fig. 1: Section 1-1).
Sections of mosaic-paved treading floors (Loci 514, 542) were excavated in the eastern part and extended beyond the limits of the excavation. A robbed wall (W544) separated between the southern (L542) and the northern (L514) treading floors. Mosaic bedding that abutted W528 was in the western part of Treading Floor 514. Two repair phases were noted in the mosaic (3 × 3 cm) of the northern treading floor. No connection was found between Treading Floor 514 and Collecting Vat 509 to its west, but a channel probably existed in the upper part of W528.
Treading Floor 542 was lined with a white mosaic (2 × 2 cm) that was laid down in different directions and included a blue frame. It was founded on top of elongated ashlar stones, similar to the walls of the collecting vats to the north. The southern part of the treading floor was severed by a modern drainage channel (W541) and an Ottoman drainage pipe that was located beneath the paved Ottoman road, which also damaged the mosaic (see Stratum I below).
West of Treading Floor 542 and south of the collecting vats was an open area (L520) enclosed from the west by the southern part of W530, which was the continuation of Wall 538. Its northern and eastern walls (W510, W535) were built of elongated ashlar stones, coated with plaster on their exterior. Plaster was discerned on the eastern corner of W510 and in the connection between W510 and W535. A small section of a plaster floor that abutted W510 survived in this corner.
It seems that this area, where no walls or floors were discerned, was used as an open work area whose floor did not survive due later disturbances. This work area was also trapezoidal, a feature that characterized the entire industrial facility.
The western side of the excavation was partially excavated, revealing a plaster floor (L536) and wall foundations (W531, W534) that were built of one row of elongated ashlar stones. All of these elements can be ascribed to another work surface that was, in all likelihood, paved with tamped plaster (L536).
A tamped plaster floor (L522) north of W531 was also attributed to Stratum III. Another floor (L519) of small and medium fieldstones could either be ascribed to one more work surface that was north of the collecting vats or it could have been a road that led toward the winepress. West of Floor 522 and next to the western boundary of the excavation was another wall (W537) whose nature is unclear.
The ceramic finds included bowls (Fig. 3:1–4): the bowls in Fig. 3:1 dating from the end of the fifth–middle of the seventh century CE and in Fig. 3:3 dating to the sixth century CE, originated in Phocaea in Anatolia; a Cypriot bowl in Fig. 3:2 dated to the fifth–seventh centuries CE and the bowl in Fig. 3:4 was of Egyptian provenance and dated up to the eighth century CE, a Bet She’an-type krater (Fig. 3:5) and jars from the Byzantine period (Fig. 3:6–9).