During August 2005, an excavation was conducted in the Yattir Forest (Permit No. A-4540*; map ref. NIG 2078/5848, OIG 1578/0848), prior to the construction of the separation fence. The excavation, undertaken on behalf of the Antiquities Authority and underwritten by the Ministry of Defense, was directed by M. Haiman (photography), with the assistance of A. Freiberg (area supervision) and A. Hajian (surveying and drafting).
Three retaining walls of farming terraces (W1–W3) were excavated in a section of a wadi channel (length 55 m, width 35 m) that descends from east to west and is surrounded by a stone fence. A rock-hewn pressing installation was also documented.
The three walls, aligned north–south across the width of the wadi channel, formed dams (Figs. 1–5). They were built of a row of large stones placed on bedrock (Wall 1—length 31 m, height 0.8 m; Wall 2—length 31 m, width 1.6 m; Wall 3—length 21 m, height 0.9 m). The walls were supported on their western side by a tamped fill of small stones (width 1.0–1.5 m). The pressing installation was hewn in a large bedrock block (c. 2 × 2 m; Fig. 6) that had rolled down from the adjacent slope onto Terrace 3. The installation consisted of two hewn circles (diam. 0.45 m, depth 2–5 cm).
The excavated wadi-channel section is an example of agriculture in wadi channels that was commonly practiced in the Yattir region and as far south as the Negev Highlands. It is customary to date the farming terraces in the wadi channels, based on the farmsteads and watchman’s towers discovered in their vicinity that are dated to the Byzantine and Early Islamic periods. The towers revealed in the region of Yattir date only to the Byzantine period and it is suggested that the date of the farming terraces in this region, including those excavated at the site, is also the Byzantine period.