|The charred grape seeds. (Photo: University of Haifa)
“And God said, ‘Behold, I have given you every plant yielding seed that is on the face of all the earth, and every tree with seed in its fruit. You shall have them for food.’” (Genesis 1:29)
|Byzantine art - Noah drinking wine among the
vines, detail from the Story of Noah.
|Byzantine depiction of the parable of the laborers in the vineyard.
(Breaking Israel News)
1,500-year-old Byzantine wine press
The Israel Antiquities Authority made the discovery during an excavation at the site, near Kiyrat Gat in southern Israel. Archaeologists believe the owner of the winepress was a Christian because of the rare find of a complete ceramic model of a church.
A Byzantine community about 1,500 years old with a large wine press was discovered a few weeks ago by the Israel Antiquities Authority near Kiryat Gat. Remains of the site, where the 100-square-meter wine press and a miniature ceramic model of a church building have been unearthed, will be displayed at an events hall to be built at the location.
The IAA made the discovery during an excavation at the site, near the Hamei Yoav hot springs, between the Beit Guvrin national park and Ashkelon. Archaeologists believe the owner of the wine press was a Christian because of the rare find of a complete ceramic model of a church, which had an opening through which an oil lamp could be inserted so the model could be used as a lantern.
The finds include the wine press’s mosaic treading floor with a cavity into which a screw was inserted, used to press the grapes. Three collection vats were found to which the juice flows, as well as compartments to hold the grapes while they fermented.
“Ashkelon was a seaside commercial city through which wine was exported from the Land of Israel to the entire Mediterranean basin,” said Sa’ar Ganor, the IAA’s archaeologist for the Ashkelon district, adding that the newly discovered winepress would have served this commerce.
IAA Southern District archaeologist Yigal Israel said: “The finds enrich our knowledge of the material culture of the people of the Byzantine period. This was an industrial wine press on the road to Ashkelon; we have wine presses all along the road to Ashkelon and this shows us how the wine industry flourished in this area.” (Haaretz.com)
|Ceramic model of a church oil lamp found at the site.