Byzantine-era wine press discovered in Israel

Researchers unearthed remains of a 1600-years-old winepress in the Ramat Negev region of Israel. The press was connected with a building dated to the 4th century AD.

The winepress (by Davida Dagan & Israel Antiquities Authority)

The southern Negev is known as an agricultural region which grew grapes for wine that was exported to the far reaches of the Byzantine empire. The building measures around 40 by 40 metres and is made out of chiselled stones. It is believed it served as a winepress for an army unit in the region. The press is of large proportion as its vat measures 2.5 metres in diameter and depth of 2 metres. This allows for a production of 6500 litres of raw wine. According to the researchers in the entire southern Negev region, there is only one other wine press that is included inside an enclosed structure, which is in the Nabataean city of Avdat. The building is believed to have been abandoned in the middle of the sixth century AD when a disastrous plague swept the region which resulted for less demand for wine and depopulation of the area.

Vat of the winepress (by Tali Gini & Israel Antiquities Authority)

(after Tali Gini, Davida Dagan & Israel Antiquities Authority)

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