Excavations prior to elementary schools construction in Ashkelon, Israel, lead to discovery of a wine press. The structure is dated to the Hellenistic period, meaning it is 2100 years old.
The wine press is said to be one of the oldest in the area. Other findings appear to indicate that the location previously housed a large farm. Excavations uncovered the remains of a large building. The wine press is square in shape. It consists of a flat surface where people trampled wine grapes with their bare feet to extract the juice, a pit used to separate the grape skins from the grape juice, and a collecting vat into which the filtered grape juice was piped. All of its sections were covered with a thick layer of white plaster mixed with seashells to prevent the liquid from leaking out. The building discovered next to it is believed to have been used for storing wine jugs and for housing workers.
The Israel Antiquities Authority and Ashkelon authorities intend to preserve the wine press in the yard of the school and to have children take part in the preservation efforts.
(after Israel Antiquities Authority, Shlomi Amami, Assaf Peretz & Algemeiner)