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Ancient wine press excavated

JERUSALEM (JTA) — A large and advanced 1,400-year-old wine press was discovered in southern Israel.

The wine press was unearthed during an excavation by the Israel Antiquities Authority in a region southwest of Kibbutz Hafetz Haim in the Nahal Soreq Regional Council, the authority announced Monday. The land is being cleared to be the farmland for Ganei Tal, a new community to be built for Gush Katif evacuees.

The press was used to produce wine during the Late Byzantine period, or sixth and seventh centuries CE, according to Uzi Ad, excavation director on behalf of the Israel Antiquities Authority, and was partially damaged during the installation of infrastructure on the land.

"The size of the wine press attests to the fact that the quantity of wine that was produced in it was exceptionally large, and was not meant for local consumption," he said. "Instead it was intended for export, probably to Egypt, which was a major export market at the time, or to Europe. This is a complex wine press that reflects a very high level of technology for this period, which was acquired and improved on from generation to generation.”

The wine press included a central treading floor with a mosaic pavement where the grapes would be stepped on.

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