Ancient ‘industrial’ winery unearthed

Israeli archaeologists have uncovered an “impressive compound” dating back nearly 2,000 years to the Byzantine period boasting an “industrial-scale” wine and oil press.

Courtesy of the Israel Antiquities Authority

Courtesy of the Israel Antiquities Authority

The remains unearthed in Ramat Bet Shemesh, 15 miles west of Jerusalem, were most likely to have formed part of a monastery, according to Irina Zilberbod, an archaeologist with the Israel Antiquities Authority (IAA).

The compound, demarcated by an outer wall, is divided into two halves which archaeologists believe marked an industrial and residential areas and dates back to the Byzantine age of the Roman Empire, which began in the year 313 BCE.

An “unusually large” press in a rare state of preservation that was used to produce olive oil was exposed in the industrial area, along with a large winepress which consisted of two treading floors from which the grape must flowed to a large collecting vat.

Revealing its findings the IAA said it was likely the residents were engaged in wine and olive oil production for their livelihood with the “impressive size” of the equipment indicating production was on an “industrial-scale” rather than just domestic.

Zilberbod and Tehila libman, excavation directors speaking on behalf of the Israel Antiquities Authority, said: “We believe this is the site of a monastery from the Byzantine period. It is true we did not find a church at the site or an inscription or any other unequivocal evidence of religious worship; nevertheless, the impressive construction, the dating to the Byzantine period, the magnificent mosaic floors, window and roof tile artifacts, as well as the agricultural-industrial installations inside the dwelling compound are all known to us from numerous other contemporary monasteries. Thus it is possible to reconstruct a scenario in which monks resided in a monastery that they established, made their living from the agricultural installations and dwelled in the rooms and carried out their religious activities.”

Archaeologists believe the compound changed hands around the start of the Islamic Period in the seventh century.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Please note that comments are subject to our posting guidelines in accordance with the Defamation Act 2013. Posts containing swear words, discrimination, offensive language and libellous or defamatory comments will not be approved.

Subscribe to our newsletters

Regional Account Manager

Scotland, UK

Retail Assistant Manager

The Whisky Exchange

Retail Supervisor

The Whisky Exchange

Retail Sales Advisor

The Whisky Exchange

Retail Manager

Friarwood Fine Wines
SW London, UK

Assistant Manager

Seven Cellars
Brighton, UK

Key Account Manager

MMI Dubai
Dubai, UAE

Head of Supply Chain

Lanson International UK Ltd
London W1, UK

National Account Executive

Home Based working in Central Belt. Glasgow/Edinburgh, UK

Prowein 2018

18th Mar 2018

The City Wine Show

London,United Kingdom
13th Apr 2018

Prosecco Springs

London,United Kingdom
26th Apr 2018
Click to view more

The Global Malbec Masters 2017

the drinks business is proud to announce the inaugural Global Malbec Masters 2017

The Global Sparkling Masters 2017

the drinks business is thrilled to announce the launch of The Global Sparkling Masters.

Click to view more