Site 31/3 (Figs. 2, 3). A rock-hewn winepress that consisted of a trapezoid treading floor (L6; length of sides 2.5, 3.6, 3.8 and 3.8 m, depth 3–10 cm) and a rectangular collecting vat (0.5 × 1.3 m, depth 0.6 m).


Site 33/4 (Figs. 4, 5). A rock-hewn winepress that consisted of a treading floor (3.2 × 4.2 m, depth 0.10–0.15 m) and a collecting vat (0.9 × 1.4 m, depth 1 m). Two depressions were hewn on either side of the collecting vat. At a later phase, the treading floor was made smaller (2.5 × 3.2 m) and deeper (c. 0.15 m).


Site 48/1 (Figs. 6, 7). Two adjacent rock-hewn winepresses, each included a shallow, irregular-shaped treading floor (2 × 3 m, depth 2–3 cm) and a rectangular collecting vat (0.4 × 0.7 m, depth 0.2 m). A cupmark (diam. 0.4 m) was hewn west of the western winepress’ treading floor and drained into its collecting vat.


Site 31/2 (Figs. 8, 9). A rock-hewn burial cave fronted by a courtyard (L18; 2.5 × 4.5 m), on whose southern and western sides benches (height 0.3 m) were hewn. A corridor (length 1.2 m, width 1 m, height 1.2 m) led from the entrance to the cave, which was hewn in the western wall of the courtyard, to steps that descended into the burial chamber (Loci 2, 7; 4 × 4 m, height 2 m). Three burial benches were hewn in the chamber, two on either side of the entrance and one opposite it. The cave was used until recently as a dwelling or for storage. The finds recovered from the excavation included an intact lamp that dated to the Roman period (second–fourth centuries CE), a few potsherds, three city-coins of the third century CE (see below) and a few fragments of a human skull.


Site 53/2 (Figs. 10–12). A burial cave (4.8 × 5.0 m) fronted by a hewn courtyard that was accessed by five rock-hewn steps and had hewn benches (height 0.39 m) along its northeastern and southwestern walls. Fragments of a column and a lintel were discovered among the stone collapse in the courtyard. Walls and two occupation levels were exposed during the courtyard’s excavation. The later level was a soil layer overlaid with potsherds from the Early Islamic period, such as open bowls (Fig. 13:1, 2) and a lamp (Fig. 13:3), while the early level was straightened bedrock that yielded a few potsherds from the Roman period. A corridor (length 1 m) extended from the entrance (1.5 × 1.5 m) to the cave, which was hewn in the southwestern wall of the courtyard, to two steps that descended into the burial chamber (6.0 × 6.5 m, height 2.4 m) and contained five hewn arcosolia. Potsherds that ranged in date from the Roman until the Ottoman periods were discovered on the floor of the burial chamber.


Site 53/3 (Figs. 14, 15). A courtyard (Loci 5, 8, 11, 12), an entrance and a corridor were preserved of a rock-hewn cave (for burial?), which was damaged when a water cistern (5 × 6 m, depth 5 m) that penetrated its ceiling was hewn. The partly hewn courtyard (3 × 4 m) made partial use of the vertical bedrock walls. The floor of the courtyard was bedrock hewn and coarsely leveled. The courtyard was shared with Cave 53/4 (below) on the northeastern side. The entrance to the cave (1 × 2 m) was hewn next to the southwestern corner of the courtyard and led to a corridor (length 1.5 m), which probably opened into a chamber that was destroyed (L4). The artifacts in the cave included a painted bowl (Fig. 13:4) and a krater (Fig. 13:5), dating from the Byzantine until the Mamluk periods.


Site 53/4. A rock-hewn burial cave, whose ceiling had collapsed. The entrance to the cave was hewn in the northern side of the courtyard, which was shared with Cave 53/3.


Site 53/5. A rich scattering of potsherds on the ground (depth 0.6 m), 8 m southeast of Caves 53/3 and 53/4. The potsherds, dating to the Late Roman and Byzantine periods, included bowls (Fig. 13:6, 7), a pan (Fig. 13:8) and jars (Fig. 13:9–11). It seems that the scattering was formed when the nearby caves were cleaned out or plundered. A fragment of a rolling stone that sealed a burial kokh (Fig. 16) was discovered nearby.


Site 13. A rock-hewn water cistern that had a square opening (0.5 × 0.5 m, apparent depth 0.6 m) and was filled with collapse.


Site 48/3. A hewn bell-shaped water cistern (3 × 6 m, depth 6 m) that had a rectangular opening (1.0 × 1.5 m). The upper part of the cistern caved in. Modern finds were discovered among the collapse in the cistern, indicating it was used until recently. The water cistern had cut through a hewn opening that probably belonged to an ancient burial cave.


Site 33/1. A small rock-cutting (1 × 1 m, depth 0.5 m).


Site 12. Cupmark (diam. 0.3 m, depth 5 cm).

Site 17. A quarry (c. 20 × 20 m), in which hewn steps were visible (up to 2 m high). Its southern part caved in, apparently due to a subterranean cavity beneath it that had collapsed.


The winepresses at the site have all a similar simple plan and it seems that they were hewn in the same time period. Dating the winepresses is impossible; however, based on the latest finds discovered on the treading floors, which dated to the end of the Byzantine period, it can be assumed that the winepresses were not used later than this period. Winepresses of a similar plan were documented in a survey that covered the Jenin-Megiddo region (G.W. Ahlstrom 1978. Wine Presses and Cupmarks of the Jenin-Megiddo Survey. BASOR 231). The burial caves were apparently hewn in the eastern fringes of a settlement that dated to the Roman and Byzantine periods and had not yet been exposed. The opulent plan of some of the caves reflects the status of the settlement. Based on the ceramic finds it seems that the caves went out of use during the Byzantine period or immediately thereafter. The caves were used during the Early Islamic period and a building addition of this time was discerned in one of them. Two of the water cisterns at the site were hewn in burial caves, probably after they were no longer in use. The quarry that was excavated and the numerous other rock-cuttings throughout the area are indicative of the intensive quarrying of masonry stones for the settlement.
Among the finds from the excavation were four coins of the third century CE (below), ceramic finds that ranged from the Roman to the Ottoman periods and glass artifacts (192 fragments) that consisted of fragments of common tableware, including cups, bowls and bottles, most of which dated to the Late Roman and Byzantine periods (fourth–fifth centuries CE) and a few to the Early Islamic period. Based on the excavation findings, it seems that a site, which reached its zenith in the Late Roman and Byzantine periods, was situated nearby. The partial use of the area and the caves continued in the following periods, albeit randomly.


The Coins
Gabriela Bijovsky

Four bronze coins were discovered in the excavation. Three of the coins were found on bedrock in the burial chamber of Cave 31/2 and the fourth worn coin was found on surface (IAA 99966). The well-preserved coins from the burial cave were struck over a short period of time, during the years 244–251 CE, in the mints of Caesarea and Tyre that provided most of the coins in circulation throughout the region of Salim during the third century CE.






Phillip the Father

244–249 CE



Trajan Decius

249–251 CE




249–251 CE



Roman provincial

Third century CE