In May 2014, a trial excavation was conducted in Ramat Bet Shemesh (Permit No. A-7109; map ref. 199071–134/624074–199; Fig. 1), prior to construction. The excavation, undertaken on behalf of the Israel Antiquities Authority and financed by the Ministry of Construction and Housing, was directed by I. Zilberbod, with the assistance of Y. Tsur (area supervision), N. Nahama (administration), A. Hajian and M. Kunin (surveying and drafting) and A. Peretz (photography).
Area A. A rock-hewn winepress (Figs. 2–4) was discovered, consisting of a square treading floor (L104; c. 4 × 4 m, height of walls 0.5–1 m) and a rectangular collecting vat (L105; c. 1 × 2 m, depth c. 1.2 m), connected by a natural channel (L122; length c. 0.4 m, width c. 0.15 m, depth c. 0.15 m). A small niche (L120; c. 0.3 × 0.5 m, height c. 0.5 m) was hewn in the southern wall of the treading floor, c. 0.15 m above the floor. A hewn step (tread c. 0.4 m, height 0.3 m) ran along the northern wall of the collecting vat. A sump (L109; 0.30 × 0.45 m, depth c. 0.15 m) was hewn in the floor of the vat, next to the center of the eastern wall. Remains of plaster were preserved on the walls of the collecting vat. Inside the vat was a deposit of soil mixed with stones and pottery sherds from the Early Roman period. The wine press apparently operated during the Roman period.
Above the southern part of the of the wine press was a field wall (W113; exposed length c. 20 m, width 1.5 m, max. height 1.5 m), which was founded on a layer of soil mixed with small stones. Accumulated soil (L121) containing Byzantine-period pottery abutted the southern side of the wall. The wall canceled the wine press, probably in the Byzantine period. About 4 m south of W113 was a heap of cleared field stones (L106; c. 3.5 × 7.5 m), bounded by two field walls (W115—length c. 13 m, width 0.5 m, height 0.5 m; W116—length c. 4 m, width 0.5 m, height 0.3 m; Figs. 5, 6), which were built on a layer of earth and small stones. Large stones concentrated in the northern part of the heap, medium and small ones in its southern part. Pottery dating to the Roman and Byzantine periods was discovered among the stones.
Area B. A field wall (W200; exposed length c. 15 m, width 1.8 m, height c. 1 m; Figs. 7, 8) was exposed c. 150 m south of Area A. The wall was set on a layer of soil, and constructed of a single row of large fieldstones, with small stones adjacent to them on the northeast. It was preserved to a maximum height of two courses. On both sides of the wall was a deposit of soil (L201, L204 and L207) containing pottery from the Roman and Byzantine periods.