During May 2005 a salvage excavation was conducted in Nof Zion, at the foot of the Armon Ha-Naziv neighborhood in Jerusalem (Permit No. A-4470*; map ref. NIG 2232/6129; OIG 1732/1129; Fig. 1), prior to the construction of a new habitation quarter. The excavation, on behalf of the Antiquities Authority, was directed by A. Nagar, with the assistance of R. Abu-Halaf (administration), T. Sagiv (photography), A. Hajian (surveying), E. Belashov (drafting), C. Hersch (pottery drawing), L. Kupershmidt (metallurgical laboratory) and R. Kool (numismatics).
The excavation area (c. 150 sq m) was located on the slope of a spur, descending from south to north (Fig. 2); two winepresses and a stone quarry were exposed (Fig. 3).
The Large Winepress
The treading floor (6.8 × 7.4 m) was delimited by four rock-hewn walls (Fig. 4). Four hewn depressions (A, B, C, H; diam. 0.07–0.12 m, depth 0.12 m) in the northern side were probably intended for wooden posts. Severance channels around a few rectangular stone blocks (c. 1.25 × 1.80–1.00 × 1.95 m) were noted in the center of the floor and along its northwestern side. The must flowed from the treading floor into a square settling vat (L103; 1.25 × 1.25 m, depth 1.65 m; Fig. 5) by way of a hewn perforation (diam. 0.15 m, length 0.35 m: Fig. 6). A circular settling pit (0.30 × 0.35 m, depth 0.08 m) was exposed in the northeastern corner of the vat’s floor. Another perforation (length 0.3 m, width 0.1 m, height 0.23 m) led to a square collecting vat (L113; 1.7 × 1.7 m, depth 3 m). A severance channel (width 0.15 m, height 0.6 m) was between two bedrock steps in the upper part of the vat’s eastern side. The collecting vat was coated with a single layer of plaster, preserved in its entirety on the floor and partially on the walls. The corners of the floor were slanted, allowing the must to drain toward the center of the vat (Fig. 7).
A hewn pit (L112; 1.55–1.65 × 2.00, depth 1.55 m), c. 7 m north of the treading floor, had a slanted floor and three cut steps on its north wall. The quarrying in the southern part of the pit was incomplete; a roughly hewn stone block (0.80 × 1.75 m), surrounded by severance channels and clefts intended for removing it (Fig. 8), remained in place. It seems the pit was meant to be used as a collecting vat, but its quarrying was never finished. Three rock-hewn depressions (L, J, M), two circular (diam. 7 cm, depth 5–9 cm) and the third rectangular (0.07 × 0.12 m, depth 0.11 m) surrounded the pit and were probably intended for the insertion of wooden posts.
More severance channels around a stone block (L110; 0.20 × 1.25 m; Fig. 9) were discerned c. 0.25 m west of the pit. Its dimensions indicate it could have been used as a settling vat but its quarrying was incomplete.
The Small Winepress
A smaller rock-hewn winepress was c. 4.2 m from the northwestern corner of the treading floor in the large winepress. This installation included a treading floor that was not completely quarried (Fig. 10), a collecting vat (L115; 0.85 × 0.90 m, depth 1.15 m) and a settling/filtration vat (L116; 0.55 × 0.55 m, depth 0.2 m). Another treading floor (N; 0.7 × 1.4 m) was 0.3 m west of the collecting vat.
High walls and a bedrock terrace, which had a rounded cross-section and rose above the southern wall of the large winepress (Fig. 11), typified the quarry.
All the ceramic finds, recovered from the vats and pits, included an Iron III bowl (Fig. 12:1); jars from the Hellenistic period (Fig. 12:2, 3); cooking pots (Fig. 12:4, 5), a jar (Fig. 12:6), jugs (Fig. 12:7, 8) and goblets (Fig. 12:9–15) from the Early Roman period; a krater (Fig. 12:16) and decorated fragments (Fig. 12:17–19) from the Byzantine period and glazed fragments (Fig. 12:20, 21) from the Mamluk period. Two coins were found on surface; one was from the time of Alexander Jannaeus (IAA 108910) and the other, from the last decade of Herod’s reign (IAA 108911).