In July 2013, a community excavation was conducted near ‘En Devir in the town of Giv‘at Ze’ev (Permit No. 15-03-2013; map ref. 21424/64086; Fig. 1). The excavation, on behalf of the Judea and Samaria Archaeology Officer, was directed by E. Freiman and M. Ben Hamo-Cohen, with the assistance of P. Portnov (surveying) and A. Harel (plan). Teenagers from the town participated in the excavation.
The excavation was conducted on the eastern slope of a spur descending northward from Khirbat Bad Abu M‘amar, north of the stream head of Nahal Ayyalon. The remains of a large structure (c. 10 × 20 m; Fig. 2) could be discerned above the surface prior to excavation; part of the outer walls was preserved to a height of c. 1.5 m. A built niche with grooves cut into the building blocks was set in the wall near the northwestern corner of the structure. It most probably served to affix a beam, attesting to an oil press that operated in the structure. The site was not identified in previous surveys.
Two excavation squares were opened inside the structure, along its northern wall, reaching to a depth of c. 1 m. The two squares joined into one area toward the end of the excavation. The excavation uncovered the tops of internal walls, but it is unclear whether these were part of the oil press or earlier walls that were dismantled. Only few pottery sherds, mostly from the Byzantine and Early Islamic periods, were discovered in the structure.
This large structure, its proximity to a spring and the remains of an oil press indicate that the structure was a farmhouse, which overlooked the fertile valley of the Ayyalot Basin and the stream head of Nahal Ayyalon. It is unclear whether the oil press was in already in use during the Byzantine period or was added later, in the Early Islamic period.