During March–April 2006, a salvage excavation was conducted at Khirbat Umm el-‘Umdan (Permit No. A-4750; map ref. NIG 200427–54/643251–60; OIG 150427–54/143251–60), prior to construction. The excavation, undertaken on behalf of the Israel Antiquities Authority and underwritten by G. Bronovsky and the Ne’ot Gefanim Association, was directed by D. Masarwa, with the assistance of Y. Ohayon (administration), A. Hajian (surveying and drafting) and T. Sagiv (field photography).
Two excavation areas were opened, Area A in the northwest and Area B in the southeast.
Area A. A hewn winepress that consisted of a square treading floor (L105; 2.4 × 2.4 m, depth 0.5 m; Figs. 1, 2), a channel (L106) and a collecting vat (L107) was discovered. Two cupmarks (L101—diam. 0.85 m, L102—diam. 0.5 m; Figs. 3, 4) were exposed east of the winepress.
Area B. A rounded structure built of large fieldstones was exposed on the hillside. It was founded on bedrock (L110; diam. 6.2 m; Figs. 5, 6) and was probably the base of a field tower, possibly a watchman’s hut. The structure was enclosed on its southern and eastern sides by a wall (W112; length 17 m, width 0.5–0.6 m; Fig. 7), built of various size fieldstones and preserved a single course high. The space created between W112 and the base of the tower (L113; width c. 1.5 m) was filled with small stones mixed with brown earth that possibly meant to support the tower.
The foundations of a building were exposed southeast of W112; it was only partially excavated due to safety precautions. The building was constructed from fieldstones and consisted of a northern (L128) and southern (L129) cells; it seems to have been used as a field tower or a shelter for shepherds.
A few worn potsherds that could not be dated were recovered from the excavation.