During November 2005, a salvage excavation was conducted in Moshav Kerem Maharal (Permit No. A- 4629*; map ref. NIG 19920–5/72752–4; OIG 14920–5/22752–4; HA-ESI 118
, HA-ESI 119
), prior to private construction on Lot 303. The excavation, carried out on behalf of the Antiquities Authority and financed by the Schwartz family, was directed by M. Masarwah and K. Sa‘id, with the assistance of T. Kornfeld (surveying and drafting), T. Sagiv (photography), P. Gendelman (pottery reading) and M. Shuiskaya-Arnov (pottery drawing).
The excavation was conducted on a hill along the southwestern border of the moshav. Remains of rock-hewn winepresses from the Byzantine period that may have been part of an industrial area were exposed in two excavation squares (A., B).
Square A (Fig. 1). Remains of a treading floor (L502; 0.4 × 2.0 m) that was founded on a layer of white plaster and paved with a white mosaic were exposed. A rock-hewn vat (L508; 0.8 × 0.8 m) in the southwestern corner of the floor was probably used for washing one's feet prior to treading the grapes. A circular vat (Loci 507, 512; diam. 1.2 m, depth 1 m) was exposed south of the treading floor. Fragments of jars (Fig. 2) that dated to the sixth century CE were discovered in the fill of the vat.
Square B (Fig. 3). Remains of a treading floor (L501; 0.4 × 0.6 m) that was paved with a white mosaic were exposed (Fig. 4). A settling pit (L504; diam. 0.8 m, depth 0.4 m), which had a white tesserae-paved bottom and sides coated with white plaster, was cut in the floor (Fig. 5). Two circular basins (Loci 516, 517) to the east of the vat were also paved with white mosaic and probably used for filtering the must. The collecting vat (L514; depth 1.2 m), which had a white mosaic-paved bottom, was partly discovered in the eastern part of the square; part of it was beyond the limits of the excavation area. The treading floor sloped to the east, toward the basins and the collecting vat. The remains of two stone walls (W100, W101), which were founded on bedrock and may have delineated the winepress, were exposed. Rock-hewn notches (Loci 512, 513, 515) that were probably the remains of quarrying activity, as well as a rock-cut cupmark, were exposed in this square.