During June 2006, an excavation was conducted at Ben Deqer South (Permit No. A-4835; map ref. NIG 19971–90/64176–90; OIG 14971–90/14176–90), following the discovery of installations along the route of the road. The excavation, on behalf of the Israel Antiquities Authority, was directed by R. Lupu, with the assistance of E. Bachar (administration), A. Hajian (surveying), M. Shuiskaya (pottery drawing) and A. Cohn-Tavor, A. Re’em, A. ‘Azab, M. Peilstöcker and U. ‘Ad (IAA Central Region).
Winepresses. The two winepresses were hewn in the nari bedrock and consisted of a treading floor and a collecting vat. The treading floor of the western winepress (L500; 1.25 × 1.35 m, depth 0.1–0.2 m; Fig. 1) had slightly curved sides. A perforation (length c. 0.1 m) connected it to the collecting vat (L501; 0.50 × 1.15 m, depth 0.6 m), which was parallel to its southern side. The floor of the collecting vat was grooved as a result of weathering and had a depression (0.3 m) in its center; remains of plaster were discerned on the sides of the vat. The eastern winepress had a trapezoidal treading floor (L700; 1.1 × 1.4 m, depth 0.2 m; Fig. 2) that was 0.1 cm higher in the south than in the north. A hewn channel linked the treading floor to an elliptical collecting vat (L702; 0.55×0.65 m, depth 0.3 m) with a depression (depth 0.1 m) at its bottom.
Limekiln. Beneath a stone clearance heap and field soil was a kiln (2.2 × 3.0 m, depth 1.5 m; Fig. 3) whose eastern side was bedrock hewn and western side was, in all likelihood, built. A probe excavated from the surface next to the western side of the kiln revealed a layer of black field soil mixed with stones (thickness 0.2 m), a layer of fieldstones and a layer of light colored earth (0.7 m). A hard gray layer at the bottom part of the kiln was not excavated, and it seems that the color of the layer was produced by fire. A thick gray layer (0.7 m) on the southern side of the kiln overlaid a layer of light-colored soil, in which an intact cooking pot that dated to the Roman period (Fig. 4) was found near the floor of the kiln.
Quarry (Fig. 5). The quarry, adjacent to the kiln, had negatives of two stones that were detached and removed (L600—1.00 × 1.15 m; L601—0.65 × 1.00 m). Two severance channels for another rock-cutting that was not completed (L602) were discerned; they evince the usage severance channels for detachment of the stones from bedrock, rather than perforations into which water was poured.
Cupmarks. To the north of the quarry were four cupmarks; a group of three cupmarks (L 402—diam. 0.2 m, depth 0.1 m; L 400—diam. 0.55 m, depth 0.22 m; L 401—diam. 0.5 m, depth 0.3 m; Fig. 6) was hewn in the same bedrock surface, whereas the fourth cupmark (diam. c. 0.6 m, depth 0.2 m) was in another bedrock surface. The cupmarks had flat bottoms with a round depression in the center.
Stone Clearance Heap (L200; diam. c. 2.5 m, height 1 m; Fig. 7). The perimeter of the stone clearance heap on top of a bedrock surface consisted of medium and large fieldstones, with small stones in its center.
The documented installations in the excavation were scattered across bedrock surfaces next to each other. This area was most likely the agricultural hinterland of some settlement, which was located on the adjacent hilltop. With the exception of the cooking pot, which is dated to the Roman period, several non-diagnostic potsherds were found, as well as a few flint flakes and one scraper that are of no relevance in dating the installations.