During July 2007, a salvage excavation was conducted south of Metulla (Permit No. A-5183; map ref. 254297–320/797724–61), in the wake of damage to ancient remains while building a retaining wall for a road. The excavation, undertaken on behalf of the Israel Antiquities Authority and underwritten by the Metulla Local Council, was directed by G.B. Jaffe, with the assistance of Y. Ya‘aqobi (administration), R. Mishayev (surveying and drafting), A. Shapiro (GPS), A. Mokary (safety measures), M. Hartal (scientific guidance, photography and pottery reading) and H. Tahan (pottery drawings). Further assistance was rendered by D. Avshalom-Gorni and E. Bron.
Parts of two rock-hewn treading floors of a winepress were exposed in the excavation area (5 × 20 m; Figs. 1, 2). The floors were well-preserved and dated to the Byzantine period; they were damaged during work carried out at the site. Two built walls were uncovered north of the site.
The treading floors (A, B), deeply hewn in bedrock, were filled with stone collapse. The floors were paved with white industrial tesserae, set on a bedding of crushed chalk (thickness c. 5 cm). The stone sides of the treading floors were coated with two layers of hydraulic plaster mixed with potsherds. The different construction phases of the treading floors were clearly visible. First, the surfaces were hewn, then paved with mosaics and finally the bedrock sides were plastered. The sides of the northern Floor A were raised with construction of medium and large fieldstones (W105—length 5.15 m, max. preserved height 1.85 m; W106—length 3.9 m; Fig. 3); Side 105 was raised c. 0.4 m higher than the bedrock wall. The mosaic pavement of Floor A was poorly preserved and repairs, which utilized potsherds, were discovered close to its northeastern corner. The southern Treading Floor B (W110—length 3.18 m; W111—length 4.52 m, max. preserved height 0.6 m; Fig. 4) had been damaged in the past during the installation of cables. The mosaic pavement of this surface was almost entirely preserved. Potsherds that dated to the Byzantine period were discovered in the treading floors and in the plaster on the walls. A casserole fragment from the Early Roman period (Fig. 5:3), which could be an imitation of a Kefar Hananya vessel, and a base fragment of a Golan pithos that dated to the Byzantine period (Fig. 5:5) were exposed when the stone collapse from Floor B was removed.
Two walls to the north-east of the floors were probably farming terrace walls and did not relate to the winepresses. Most of the ceramic finds from this part of the excavation dated to the Roman and Byzantine periods and included a bowl (Fig. 5:1), a cooking pot (Fig. 5:2) and a jug (Fig. 5:4) from the Late Roman period, as well as a Golan-type pithos (Fig. 5:6) and a jar (Fig. 5:7) from the Byzantine period. A few of the ceramic finds from the vicinity of the walls dated to the Ottoman period and belonged to the Rashaya el-Fukhar ware.
Parts of two large treading floors of an industrial winepress were exposed in the excavation. It is plausible to assume that the rest of the winepress’ elements were located west of the treading floors and were probably destroyed during the infrastructure works at the site. The winepress was built and operated in the Byzantine period (fourth–fifth centuries CE), although the ceramic finds in the area seem to indicate that the site was also inhabited in the Roman and Ottoman periods.