During December 2007–January 2008, a salvage excavation was conducted at Khirbat Sha‘ira (Permit No. A-5332; map ref. NIG 19087–8/66396–8; OIG 14087–8/16396–8), prior to construction. The excavation, on behalf of the Israel Antiquities Authority, was directed by E. Kogan-Zehavi (surveying), with the assistance of E. Bachar (administration), T. Sagiv (field photography) and C. Hersch (pottery drawing).
Byzantine period. A square, built collecting vat of a winepress was exposed (L 110; 1.3 × 1.3 m; Fig. 2). The treading floor of the winepress was not preserved as a result of modern damage to the winepress and possibly also damage caused during the Early Islamic period. The fieldstone-built walls of the collecting vat (W102, W107–W109; max. preserved height 0.5 m) were coated with pale gray-brown plaster in which potsherds were embedded. Walls 107 and 109 were not preserved, except for a layer of plaster below them. The mosaic floor of the collecting vat consisted of white tesserae (average size 2 × 2 cm) and a round settling pit was installed in its northern corner. A few potsherds that dated to the Byzantine period were discovered in the winepress, including two jar rims (Fig. 3:1, 2). Based on the size of the collecting vat it is assumed that this installation was a public winepress. According to residents living nearby, dressed masonry stones were discovered when the building east of the winepress was constructed; these stones may have been connected to the winepress.
Early Islamic period. East of the collecting vat was a round cluster of small and medium-sized fieldstones (L112). A few ceramic finds from the Early Islamic period were discovered among the stones, including rims of a bowl (Fig. 3:3), a frying pan (Fig. 3:4) and a jar (Fig. 3:5).