During March 2003 a trial excavation was conducted at Kafr Yama (Permit No. A-3854*; map ref. NIG 203463–527/697364–420; OIG 153463–527/197364–420), in an area slated for the construction of a sheepfold in the agricultural school. The excavation, on behalf of the Antiquities Authority and financed by the Ministry of Education, was directed by M. Masarwa, assisted by A. Hajian (surveying) and A. Salam Sa‘id (photography).
A winepress, a building, a cupmark and a cave were discovered (Fig. 1).
The winepress was hewn in chalk bedrock and consisted of a large treading floor (L501; 4.18 × 4.20 m; Fig. 2) whose eastern side was damaged when it became part of a later quarry, after it was no longer in use. A pierced-through perforation in bedrock (diam. 8 cm) on the northeastern side of the treading floor connected it to a settling pit (L502; diam. 0.87 m, depth 0.77 m). A hewn channel (diam. 8 cm) in the western side of the settling pit connected it to a rectangular collecting vat (L503; 2.05 × 2.55 m, depth 1.57 m) whose walls and floors were coated with white plaster, preserved only along the bottom of the walls. A sump on its southern side (diam. 0.6 m, depth 0.3 m) was paved with a white mosaic and cut in the floor of the collecting vat, which yielded Byzantine potsherds. The shape of the winepress is characteristic of the Byzantine period.
The rectangular structure (6.5 × 7.5 m; Fig. 3), which was found covered with a heap of stones of different sizes, is dated to the Ottoman period. Upon removal of the stone collapse, two levels of the building were exposed. The building was entered from the north by way of a main doorway, from which two steps (0.40 × 0.95 m) descended to a lower level (Loci 506, 510) that was a sort of white-plastered courtyard (2.3 × 2.4 m). Two openings (1 × 1 m), which formed a corridor flanked by plastered stone pilasters (0.8 × 0.9 m, height 1.2 m), were discovered in the western and eastern sides of the courtyard. Two threshold steps (0.4 ´ 0.9 m, height 0.2 m) that separated the floor of the corridor from that of the building were visible in the western opening. A step (0.4 × 0.9 m, height 0.3 m) in the eastern opening connected the corridor to the central courtyard. Two burnt spots (Loci 512, 513) were exposed in the northeastern and northwestern corners of the courtyard.
The upper level (L508; 2.5 × 3.5 m), which was paved with poor quality white plaster that abutted the walls of the building, was exposed in the southern part of the building. The plastered Wall 4, built of a single course (0.3 m high), separated the two levels of the building and was connected to the two southern pilasters of the opening on the lower level. Two stones were preserved of an opening (0.75 m wide) that was exposed on the southeastern side of the upper level. Its floor, coated with white plaster, was connected to Floor 508.
A few fragments of pottery vessels from several periods were found; however, the building is ascribed to the beginning of the nineteenth century CE based on two coins that were found on Floor 508; one of the coins bears the name of Mohammed ‘Abd al-Hamid, the son of al-Hamid II (1876–1909 CE). The discovery of two horseshoes in the lower level seems to indicate that both people and animals occupied the building at the same time.
The bedrock-hewn cupmark (L504; diam. 0.7 m, depth 0.45 m; Fig. 4) was exposed in an area slated for development to the southwest. It was probably used for collecting rainwater.
The bedrock-hewn round cave (L507; diam. 8 m; Fig. 5) had a partially destroyed ceiling. A probe excavated inside the cave revealed only modern remains.