Ancient winepress discovered in southern Israel

Published on Friday, 05 April 2013 by Webmaster

Ancient winepress discovered in southern Israel
Remains of a Byzantine settlement with an impressive winepress were recently excavated on behalf of the Israel Antiquities Authority near the Hamei Yoav spa in southern Israel.

According to Dr. Rina Avner, the excavation director on behalf of the Israel Antiquities Authority, "The winepress exceeded 100 square meters (1,076 square feet) in area. It consists of a large treading floor, surrounded by six compartments on the north and east. These compartments were used for fermenting grapes upon their arrival from the vineyards to produce high-quality wine.

The owner of the winepress was likely Christian, as attested by a ceramic lantern found nearby, which was decorated with five crosses. The lantern has the shape of a miniature church building; an oval opening on one side served to insert an oil lamp.

Sa'ar Ganor, the Ashkelon district archaeologist of the Israel antiquities Authority, pointed out that "the winepress at Hamei Yoav, as well as three similar winepresses unearthed nearby, are located along the ancient road that led from Beth Guvrin to ancient Ashkelon and its port, thus facilitating the transportation of wine to Ashkelon, and its exportation from the port of Ashkelon to Europe and North Africa.

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