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A 1,600 year-old wine press has been found in Israel

A 1,600 year-old wine press has been found in Israel(Photo by: Doyda Dagan / Israel Antiquities Authority)

The Negev desert is well-known for its entrepreneurship spirit and for its hundreds of boutique wineries, luxury hotels and delicious cheese. It’s also a semi-arid desert, so you would probably not expect for it to be an important archaeological site in Israel. But this new discovery tells us otherwise, thousands of treasures and sites are waiting to be discovered.

Very recently while performing maintenance work in the Ramat Negev region, a group of workers accidentally discovered a large structure that after unearthing has been identified as a Byzantine period wine press.

The archeologist Yoram Haimi and his students from Belevav Shalem in Yeroham have been working on this finding that measures around 131 square feet and includes a stone pressing floor, fermentation pool and even a separation pit. This astounding structure built 1,600 years ago use to hold around 1,700 gallons of wine.

This new finding is a major incentive for thousands of archaeologists around the world looking to discover new sites linked to the Bible. In the Negev desert you will find many archaeological sites, such as the Shivta National Park, an ancient Nabatean city declared a UNESCO world heritage site in 2005. It was built in the first century BCE and includes an elaborate water collection and irrigation system. It was used as a trade point during ancient times.

Yotvata is also located in the Negev. The ruins of this Roman fort have a connection to the Bible. It was known as an Israelite station after the exodus and it’s described in Deuteronomy 10, 7: “From thence they journeyed… to Jotbath, a land of rivers of waters”.

This new discovery is now under the protection of the local council and hopefully soon it will be opened to the general public.

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