During January 2003, a salvage excavation was conducted on the French Hill in Jerusalem (Permit No. A-3802*; map ref. NIG 22260/63470; OIG 17260/13470), following the exposure of antiquities prior to construction. The excavation, on behalf of the Antiquities Authority and financed by the Samud Company, was directed by D. Weiss, with the assistance of V. Pirsky and T. Kornfeld (surveying), R. Abu Halaf (administration), C. Amit (photography) and I. Lidsky (pottery drawing).
Three areas were opened: Area A in the north and Areas B and C, c. 50 m to the southwest, which eventually were consolidated into one area (Fig. 1).
Area A. Two of the three opened squares were devoid of any finds and a winepress hewn in chalk bedrock (Fig. 2) was uncovered in the third square. The winepress included a treading floor (1.75 × 2.20 m) paved with a white mosaic (size of tesserae c. 2.5 sq cm). Plaster remains (height 15 cm) were discerned on the surface of the hewn bedrock along the southern side of the treading floor. Two collecting vats were on the southern side of the floor. The western vat (L1018; 1.24 × 1.76 m) was coated with gray plaster and a staircase descended on its western side to the mosaic-paved floor of the vat. A semicircular recess (diam. 0.4 m) was cut in the southeastern corner of the vat. Although the rim of the vat was worn, the mosaic pavement of the treading floor appeared to extend up to it. The eastern vat (L1019; 0.9 × 1.5 m) was coated with gray plaster that was poorly preserved.
The ceramic finds in the vats included bowls (Fig. 4:1, 2), cooking pots (Fig. 4:3, 4) and jars (Fig. 4:5, 6), dating to the Early Roman period.
The northwestern corner of the winepress was damaged during the earthmoving works conducted prior to the excavation.
Areas B and C (Fig. 3). Remains of a quarry and other rock-cuttings, whose nature is unclear, were exposed in these areas. Fragments of pottery vessels, dating to the Early Roman period, and a stone cup (Fig. 4:7) that is characteristic of the period, were found.