‘Unusual’ Byzantine wine presses uncovered

Two “unusual” wine presses dating to the Byzantine period have been discovered inside an old water cistern in northern Israel.

Credit: National Parks Authority

The two presses were uncovered at the Zippori National Park and were originally part of the water cistern and aqueduct system at the site.

Two covered cisterns however appear to have been repurposed as wine presses by the people of Tzippori some time around the 4th century AD, think the archaeologists.

The city’s population peaked around that time and there was likely huge demand for wine from the mixed Jewish, Christian and pagan populace.

There is nothing to indicate who might have been working at the presses although the smaller of the two presses might, possibly, indicate it was used by Jews conforming to an obscure Jewish law practiced during the Shmita year*, although the lead excavator, Dr Zvika Tzuk, told The Times of Israel this was just a theory, “we cannot really know”.

Wine presses of all ages, dating back to the time of the ancient Egyptians even, are excavated on a fairly regular basis in Israel indicating just how deep-rooted and long-lasting wine production in the region is.

Last year archaeologists also discovered a Byzantine wine press in the south of the country, in the Negev that would have been capable of holding the equivalent of 8,000 bottles of wine.


*Every seventh year in the agricultural calendar when fields are rested.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.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

Subscribe to our newsletters

Marketing Manager

Amathus Drinks Plc
London, UK

Partner Manager - Manged On-Trade

Maverick Drinks
London, UK

Brand Manager

Hatch Mansfield
Ascot, Berkshire

Head of Sales

London, UK

Logistic and Fullfilment - Whisky (and wine) administrator

Stilnovisti Ltd
London, United Kingdom // Dufftown, Keith, United Kingdom

Account Manager

Harviestoun Brewery
Field Based, UK

Buyer - Spain & South America

London, UK

Events Sales Manager

Field based - London or surrounding area

Sales Director Europe

Mirabeau Wine

Argentina Breaking New Ground Masterclass Series

Manchester,United Kingdom
16th Oct 2018

Argentina Breaking New Ground Masterclass Series

Leeds,United Kingdom
17th Oct 2018

Argentina Breaking New Ground Masterclass Series

Edinburgh,United Kingdom
18th Oct 2018
Click to view more

Global Chardonnay Masters 2018

Deadline : 17th October 2018

Green Awards 2018

Deadline : 19th October 2018

Click to view more

The Global Sparkling Masters 2018

As with all of the drinks business awards, our judging panel is comprised of Masters of Wine, Master Sommeliers and senior buyers making the competition globally renowned.

Champagne Masters 2018

Enter your wines into the Champagne Masters 2018, the only blind competition dedicated to Champagne in the UK.

Click to view more