1400 year old olive oil press unearthed in Israel

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A 1,400-year-old olive press was discovered at an archaeological dig last week in the city of Modiin. The press was used to produce olive oil and is the most complete and elaborate ancient object found to date in the area. 

The olive oil press found on the outskirts of the city of Modi’in dates back nearly a millennium and a half [Credit: Israel Antiquities Authority]

The press was discovered by archaeologists employed by the Israel Antiquities Authority near the Kaiser neighborhood, which is slated for expansion. 

Hagit Turga, who manages the site, said on Tuesday, “The ancient and large [48-square-meter] olive press, which produced industrial quantities of olive oil for consumption and lighting, was perfectly preserved with all of its components intact. It includes a crushing mechanism for the initial squeezing of the olives, a pressing mechanism with two pillars used to stabilize a heavy cylinder that crushes the olives, and a screw-like base used to operate the cylinder.” 

“The oil was collected in a basin, which was also preserved intact. Other smaller marble objects and pottery were found at the site as well,” Turga said. 

The Israel Antiquities Authority, Housing and Construction Ministry and Maccabim-Reut municipality are cooperating to preserve the discovery and display it for residents of the neighborhood soon to be built in the area, as well as for visitors to the nearby Anava park. 

Archaeological excavations have taken place near Modiin for many years, and the antiquities authority has covered many areas around the city in a search for ancient finds. The authority has done extensive work in Givat Titora, which is now an integral part of the city. The area is within walking distance from the city center and has been turned into a 652-dunam (161-acre) archaeological and botanical sanctuary. 

Author: Yori Yalon | Source: Israel Hayom [May 15, 2012]

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