A salvage excavation was conducted in May 1998 west of Har Gillo (L-802*; map ref. NIG 21575/62575; OIG 16575/12575), prior to the settlement’s expansion. The excavation, on behalf of the Archaeological Staff Officer of Judea and Samaria, was directed by Y. Peleg, assisted by Y. Feller and A. Al-‘Aza, M. Kahan and P. Portnov (surveying and drafting) and S. Ammami (photography).
The remains of two buildings (1, 2), one of which was next to a rock-cut winepress, were exposed on a gentle spur that descended westward. Meager ceramic finds from Iron Age III were discovered in the excavation, implying that the buildings and winepress should apparently be dated to this period. Several pottery fragments from the Early Islamic period were found as well, indicating activity at the site during this time.
Building 1 (Fig. 1). A rectangular building (3.3 × 7.6 m) that consisted of a single room, whose entrance (width 0.8 m) was in the eastern wall. The walls (width 0.7 m) were founded on bedrock and were built of medium-sized fieldstones; they were preserved to a maximum of three courses high (1.35 m). The bedrock served as the floor in the northwestern part of the room, whereas elsewhere in the room the floor was composed of small fieldstones, covered with beaten earth.
The winepress was hewn just to the west of the building. It consisted of a square treading surface (2.70 × 3.38 m, depth 0.17 m) and a rectangular collecting vat (1.16 × 1.45 m, depth 1.21 m) to the south. The treading surface was enclosed with a wall (width 0.5 m) on the northwest, which was built of medium-sized fieldstones and preserved three courses high (0.74 m).
Building 2 was c. 50 m north of Building 1 and poorly preserved. The northern wall and small sections of the building’s eastern and southern walls had survived (2.2 × 3.2 m). The walls were constructed from medium-sized fieldstones and preserved two courses high (0.75 m). The floor partially utilized bedrock and in part, was composed of fieldstones, overlain with beaten earth.