During July 2005, an excavation was conducted in the Yattir Forest (Permit No. A-4538; map ref. NIG 20795/58490; OIG 15795/08490), along the route of the separation fence. The excavation, undertaken on behalf of the Israel Antiquities Authority and financed by the Ministry of Defense, was directed by M. Haiman, with the assistance of A. Freiberg (area supervision) and A. Hajian (surveying).
The site included an agricultural area delineated by a stone wall, farming terraces, a winepress and a quarry.
The Agricultural Area (37 × 47 m) was delimited by fieldstone walls (W2 in the north, Fig. 1; W4 in the east, Fig. 2; W1 in the west, Figs. 3, 4) founded on bedrock at a depth of 0.2–0.4 m below surface. Within the area were farming terraces (length 3–12 m, width 1 m, height 0.4 m) and one of them (W3; Fig. 2), which abutted the wall that surrounded the area (W4), was excavated. The farming terrace wall was a row of a single stone course and the terrace fill included earth mixed with small stones.
The Winepress consisted of a treading floor (2.0 × 2.1 m, height 0.35 m; Figs. 5, 6), a square settling pit (0.45 × 0.45 m, depth 0.25 m), to which a hewn channel (depth 5 cm) led from the treading floor and a collecting vat (0.8–1.0 × 0.95 m) that was connected to the settling pit via a perforation (diam. 5 cm).
The Quarry(10 × 15 m, height 1 m), located east of the winepress, contained negatives of stones (height c. 0.25 m) and severance channels (width c. 10 cm).
Potsherds from the Byzantine period were scattered in the area and found in some of the excavation squares; however, it seems that the excavated remains dated to different periods. Based on the regional context, it can be assumed that the winepress and the quarry reflect the agricultural activity along the fringes of Horbat ‘Anim, which is located c. 200 m from the excavation. These installations can therefore be dated from the Hellenistic until the Byzantine periods. The agricultural plot, which was surrounded by a wall, was one of a dense network of plots that covered the region and should be dated to the Byzantine period.