During October–November 2011, a trial excavation was conducted in Ramat Bet Shemesh C (Permit No. A-6318; map ref. 623167–94/198328–53), prior to construction. The excavation, undertaken on behalf of the Israel Antiquities Authority and underwritten by the Ministry of Construction and Housing, was directed by E. Kogan-Zehavi, with the assistance of N. Nehama (administration), M. Kunin and M. Kahan (surveying and drafting), A. Peretz (field photography) and C. Hersch (pottery drawing).
The winepress was hewn in a bedrock surface that sloped from north to south. It consisted of a treading floor and two collecting vats that were connected to the floor by narrow channels (Fig. 3). The treading floor (L102; 3.0–3.5×3.5 m) was meticulously hewn; part of it was destroyed as a result of weathering and a tree that grew nearby. The western collecting vat was square (L103; 1×1 m, depth 0.95 m) and remains of pale gray plaster were discerned on its bottom. The eastern collecting vat was rectangular and had rounded corners (L104; 1.1×1.8 m). A kind of bedrock shelf (max. width 0.25 m) was hewn c. 0.4 m below the edge of the Collecting Vat 104. The bottom of this collecting vat was destroyed when a cistern was hewn inside it (below). The ceramic finds from the excavation of the winepress were meager and included body fragments of ribbed jars and a jug rim (Fig. 4:1) that was found on the treading floor and is dated to the Byzantine period.
The cistern (width 2.6 m, depth 3 m) was carefully hewn inside Collecting Vat 104. This was a bell-shaped cistern with an irregular outline. The cistern had an elliptical opening and a vertical shaft (depth 1.2 m). Its southern side was curved while its northern side was angled. The cistern was coated with pale gray plaster mixed with bits of charcoal and ground potsherds. It was found filled with alluvium and several potsherds dating to the Byzantine period, including a pot rim (Fig. 4:2), a jar rim (Fig. 4:3) and three jug rims (Fig. 4:4–6) that were discovered on its bottom (L110).
The exposed winepress might be connected to the farmhouse discovered nearby and could have been part of its agricultural hinterland. The quarrying of the cistern postdated the winepress. It is possible that the pottery discovered in the cistern dates the time when the winepress was used and the cistern was quarried in the Late Byzantine period or thereafter.