In September 2016, a trial excavation was conducted at the declared archaeological site of Khirbat el-Mahzuq near Moshav Heletz, c. 350 m east of Highway 232 (Permit No. A-7806; map ref. 166905-73/611162-93; Fig. 1), prior to the construction of chicken coops. The excavation, undertaken on behalf of the Israel Antiquities Authority and financed by the Haddad family, was directed by D. Yegorov (field photography), with the assistance of Y. Al-ʽAmor (administration), E. Aladjem (GPS), M. Kahan (surveying and drafting), N. Zak (plans), G. Seriy (ceramics) and I. Lidsky-Reznikov (pottery drawing).
An excavation square (25 sq m; Fig. 2) was opened, exposing remains of two walls (W10, W11). Wall 10 was built of medium-sized kurkar stones bonded with whitish-gray mortar; its inner face was plastered (Fig. 3). The wall was adjoined from the southwest by another wall (W11), constructed in the same manner as W10, that survived to a height of one course. The upper courses of W11 had collapsed toward the north and covered the remains of a floor bedding (L104; Figs. 3, 4) that abutted that wall. The floor bedding was made of two layers of kurkar stones founded on a layer of sand (Fig. 4). On the floor were fragments of tesserae and a meager pottery assemblage that included mainly bowls (Fig. 5:1–3) and cooking pots (Fig. 5:4) dating to the Byzantine period (sixth century CE).
It was not possible to draw any clear conclusions from the excavation because of the limited area that was examined. However, based on the building style and the tesserae fragments, an agricultural installation was presumably situated there, possibly an ancient winepress.