In March 2014, a salvage excavation was conducted in the Agammim neibourhood at the southern entrance to Ashqelon (Permit No. A-7072; map ref. 158711/617653; Fig. 1), in an area slated for development. The excavation, undertaken on behalf of the Israel Antiquities Authority and financed by the Primak Company, was directed by V. Lifshits (field photography), with the assistance of Y. Al-‘Amor (administration), M. Kunin, A. Hajian and N. Zak (surveying and drafting) and I. Lidsky-Reznikov (pottery drawing).
Settlement remains dating to the Roman–Byzantine period were previously excavated at the site (Nahshoni 2007), and remains of a Late Ottoman period building (Permit No. A-6958) were uncovered c. 200 m south of the current excavation. A winepress was discovered at a depth of c. 2.8 m below the surface in trial trenches that were excavated in 2013.
Part of the winepress (1.15 × 2.30 m) was exposed in the excavation. It consisted of a small section of a treading floor (L3; 0.80 × 1.07 m) and a collecting vat (L4; 1.03 × 1.15 m, depth 0.8 m; Figs. 2, 3) with a depression that served as a settling pit (diam. c. 0.25 m, depth 0.14 m; Fig. 4) in its northeastern corner. The inside of the vat was coated with four layers of gray plaster mixed with shells and small stones. The inner layer was white and waterproof. In the southern part of the vat, two plastered stone steps (0.40 × 0.45 m) were incorporated into the eastern and western walls and the floor. A narrow channel between the steps led to the settling pit.
The ceramic finds recovered from the collecting vat included a krater (Fig. 5:1), bowls (Fig. 5:2, 3) and amphorae (Fig. 5:4, 5) dating to the Hellenistic period.
The winepress was probably part of the well-developed wine industry of Ashqelon during the Hellenistic and Early Roman periods.