Large presses, thousands of fragments of jars and spacious warehouses for storing production: The Israeli authorities revealed, on Monday, the “largest” site for the production of wine from the Byzantine era in southern Israel, at the gates of the Gaza Strip.
As part of excavations in Yavne, a growing city in southern Israel, archaeologists have discovered a large 1,500-year-old wine-producing site over the past two years.
The site does not resemble a rustic vineyard, but rather a real winery, with an estimated annual production of two million liters pressurized at the foot.
A team of archaeologists led by the Israel Antiquities Authority has discovered five presses that are about 225 meters high2 To tread at the foot of the grapes, two huge octagonal basins for collecting the pottery kilns needed to cook the elongated amphora clay, called the “Gaza Jars” and in which the wine aged.
“We were surprised to find here a sophisticated wine production factory in industrial quantities,” archaeologists Eli Haddad, Liat Nadav Ziv and John Seilingman, who led these excavations, said in a joint statement.
At that time, the Gaza Strip, a Palestinian territory now under the control of the Islamist movement Hamas, and the neighboring city of Ashkelon, in southern Israel, near Yavneh, were known for the quality of wine marketed in the Mediterranean basin.
These excavations have also made it possible to establish the presence of wine presses at the site dating back 2,300 years, the period when the Persian Achaemenid Empire ruled much of the Middle East and thus, according to archaeologists, to show a “continuum.” “Over several centuries of local winemaking.
The Israel Antiquities Authority confirmed Monday that the Yavne complex will be “preserved” and will be part of a future archaeological park accessible to the public.
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