During April–May 2004, a salvage excavation was conducted at Horbat Pi Mazzuva in Shlomi (Permit No. A-4153*; map ref. NIG 21485–6/77624–5, OIG 16485–6/27624–5), in the wake of damage to ancient remains during the widening of a road. The excavation, carried out on behalf of the Antiquities Authority and financed by the Ministry of Construction and Housing, was directed by H. Abu-‘Uqsa, with the assistance of Y. Ya‘aqoby and I. Lavan (administration), A. Hajian (surveying and drafting), H. Smithline and N. Getzov (photography) and H. Tahan (drawing).
The ruin is located at the top of a chalk hill and an adjacent spur, south of Nahal Hanita. Remains of rock-hewn installations and rock-cuttings were exposed in the excavation (4.5×6.5 m; Fig. 1). A survey in the area of the ruin revealed the foundations of buildings, olive presses, burial caves, some of which were decorated, a quarry and a limekiln. Potsherds that dated to the Persian, Hellenistic, Roman-Byzantine (most of the finds), Crusader-Mamluk and Ottoman periods were collected on surface.
Two sections of a white mosaic floor (0.5×2.0 m, 1.5×3.0 m), decorated with black and red geometric patterns (Figs. 2, 3), as well as its bedding (c. 0.3 m thick), were preserved on a rock-hewn surface. A circular, bedrock-hewn filtration (?) pit (L5; diam. 0.6 m, depth 0.17–0.19 m) had mosaic-paved floor and plastered walls. It seems that a cross motif had originally decorated the floor mosaic in the pit, but the pattern was altered in the wake of repairs (Fig. 4). Two hewn channels (depth 0.25 m), which may have led to two collecting vats that were not preserved, extended from the pit. To the north of Pit 5 was a small hewn trapezoidal vat (L6; length c. 0.5 m, depth 0.25 m; Fig. 5), lined with potsherds and plaster, which had a channel at its bottom that led to the west. The function of this vat is unknown. A jar lid dating to the Byzantine period was discovered in the side of Vat 6 (Fig. 6:2). It seems that bedrock surface and the two vats were part of an industrial installation, possibly a winepress, which was damaged during the development work at the site.
It is unclear whether other rock-cuttings nearby were associated with the installation, either predating or postdating it. A shallow channel to the east of the installation led to a vat in the northeast (L13; diam. 1 m), which bore the remains of plaster. Another channel extended from Vat 13 northward. Remains of a quarry, whose date is unclear, were exposed in the eastern part of the excavation area. The quarry surface was straightened when a tamped chalk floor (Loci 11, 12), which abutted the quarry and postdated it, was installed. Potsherds from the Byzantine period were discovered below the tamped chalk floor, including a bowl (Fig. 6:1), a jar (Fig. 6:3) and an amphora (Fig. 6:4). The installation was negated by a hewn water cistern (L15) and a settling pit (L7), adjacent to each other. Hydraulic plaster was applied to the water cistern, which was blocked with several stones and a small depression (diam. 0.23 m, depth 7 cm) was hewn in the settling pit (diam. 0.75–0.85 m, depth 0.5 m). The northern part of the excavation area was paved with masonry stones in secondary use (Fig. 7). Above the pavement and Pits 7 and 15 were mixed ceramic finds that included a bowl (Fig. 6:5) and a cooking pot (Fig. 6:8) from the Crusader period, as well as a cooking bowl (Fig. 6:6) and a cooking pot (Fig. 6:7) from the Mamluk period.