In 2006 new archaeological excavations were conducted at the site of Beer Shema, c. 6 kilometers south of Kibbutz Orim in the western Negev. The site is located on one of the perfume trade routes (the Petra-Gaza route) between the Nabatean city of Halutza and Gaza. The place is known from historical sources by the name of Birzma or Birasma, from the second century CE and the fifth century CE, and it is mentioned as a place where a unit of the Roman army was garrisoned. The site is also mentioned by Christian historians in the Byzantine period as Gerrarus where a community of observant monks resided. In this period, Beer Shema was the administrative center of the imperial territory of Gerrar (Saltus Gerariticus).

The excavations in 2006 were concentrated in the western area of the site, which extends across c. 500 dunams. In the excavations an industrial wine press was discovered, as well as buildings where wine jars were stored (baggy shaped jars and Gaza jars) that were produced on the site and an underground room (a cellar) that was probably used by the winery. These buildings were in use at the end of the Byzantine period in the country (sixth-seventh centuries CE) but almost all of their stones were plundered in the twentieth century. In addition, a number of buildings from the Early Islamic period (eighth century CE) and the Mamluk period (thirteenth-fourteenth centuries) were discovered. Two buildings and fences from the first half of the twentieth century were excavated in the south of the site and west of it; one of them is built of mudbricks and the other of stone. Black pottery vessels that were produced in Gaza and other modern finds such as a wooden box of a Saqiya well were discovered inside the buildings.

In a magnetic survey that was performed by Sonis Itkis, on behalf of the Ben-Gurion University in the Negev at Beer Sheva, prior to the commencement of the excavations, signs of a massive structure were detected, possibly an amphitheater or large water reservoir in the northern part of the site.