A salvage excavation was conducted in March 1997 at Karmé Zur (L-760; map ref. NIG 2097/6129; OIG 1597/1129) prior to the settlement’s expansion. The excavation, on behalf of the Archaeological Staff Officer of Judea and Samaria, was directed by Y. Feller and I. Srukh, assisted by M. Kahan and A. Offokin (surveying and drafting), S. Ammami (photography), M. Manokian (drawing) and G. Bijovsky (numismatics).
Two buildings (1, 2) were excavated on a spur, descending southward, in the southern part of the settlement; two built winepresses (1, 2) were uncovered on the eastern slope of the hill where the settlement is located. The buildings and the winepresses are dated to the 1st century BCE and may be associated with the settlement from this period at Khirbet el-Qatt, c. 200 m to the east of here (Survey in the Land of Judea, Site 79, in: Judea, Samaria and the Golan; Archaeological Survey 1967–1968, 1972).
The Buildings (Fig. 1). Building 1 (3.4 × 10.8 m) consisted of four rooms (1–4) aligned in a row. Its walls (width 0.75 m) were built of different-sized, roughly hewn fieldstones set on bedrock and were preserved to a maximum of three courses high (1.6 m). Two entrances were installed in the eastern side of the building, one in Room 1 and the other in Room 3. Rooms 1 and 3 were larger than the other two rooms and had beaten-earth floors. Rooms 2 and 4 were narrow and may have been used for storage. Remains of a stone pen (not included in the plan) that may have enclosed a courtyard were discovered south of the building. North of the building was a cupmark (diam. 0.3 m, depth 0.1 m) hewn in bedrock. The building contained fragments of pottery vessels from the 1st century BCE.
Building 2 was located c. 12 m southeast of Building 1. It was not excavated in its entirety and only a probe was dug the length of it, revealing two walls that formed the southwestern corner of the building. The walls (widths 1.05 m, 1.25 m respectively) were constructed from two rows of various-sized fieldstones, with a core of earthen fill and stones and preserved four–five courses high (1.05–1.30 m). The bedrock served as the floor of the building and cracks in the rock were filled with stones and beaten earth. A circular wall that was built at a later stage to the southwest of the building yielded potsherds dating to the 1st century BCE.
The Winepresses. Winepress 1 (6.15 × 6.55 m; Fig. 2) was built on bedrock and consisted of a square treading surface and an adjacent collecting vat located to the east. The treading surface was enclosed with walls that comprised large fieldstones and were preserved three courses high. Two of the walls were one row of stones (width 0.86 m) and two were built of two rows of stones (widths 1.8 m, 2.7 m). The treading surface, upon which traces of plaster were observed, sloped to the northeast. Bedrock was lower in the eastern corner of the treading surface and a fill of small stones and soil was deposited to level it. A short plastered conduit led from the eastern corner of the treading surface to the collecting vat (1.2 × 1.4 m, depth 0.95 m) that was coated with plaster and surrounded with a single course high wall. An elongated crushing stone (0.6 × 1.25 m) was lying in the middle of the treading surface. Fragments of pottery vessels from the 1st century BCE were recovered from the winepress.
Winepress 2 (4.95 × 5.65 m; Fig. 3) was located c. 30 m south of Winepress 1 and its plan was similar to that of the latter. It was built on bedrock and consisted of a treading surface and a nearby collecting vat, located to the east. The treading surface was enclosed with walls (width 0.5–1.5 m) that consisted of large fieldstones and were preserved three courses high (0.8 m). Natural fissures that were visible on the treading surface may have served as conduits, leading to the collecting vat, which was hewn and plastered (1.2 × 1.3 m, depth 1.8 m). Several potsherds from the 1st century BCE were found in the winepress, as well as a coin identified as a pruta, from the time of Alexander Jannaeus (104–76 BCE; K27743).