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Gigantic 1500-year-old Wine Factory From Byzantine Era Discovered in Israel

Archaeologists claim this could be the largest winery from the Byzantine period. (Image: Associated Press)

Archaeologists claim this could be the largest winery from the Byzantine period. (Image: Associated Press)

Archaeologists discovered furnaces for burning the clay vessels along with five enormous wine presses and warehouses for ageing and selling the wine.

Excavators in Israel have unearthed a massive wine production facility, dating back to the Byzantine period. The winery incorporates thousands of well-preserved earthen jars along with fragments. It also features well-designed access between different production facilities.

Archaeologists claim this could be the largest winery from the Byzantine period.

“What we have found here is an industrial region of ancient Yavne,’ says IAA archaeologist Dr Jon Seligman, who started the work with Dr Ellie Haddad and Liat Nadav-Ziv, BBC reported.

The veteran archaeologist said that his team has discovered remains of different industries like glass and metal production facilities. The team found the remains of other structures, including a house from the 9th century. “These buildings are supposedly from the interim period between the Byzantine and Islamic,” Seligman added.

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Archaeologists discovered furnaces for burning the clay vessels along with five enormous wine presses and warehouses for ageing and selling the wine.

The advanced facility, excavated in Yavne, had a production capacity of up to two million litres of wine per year as per the Antiquities Authority of Israel. This is significantly huge when taken into consideration the population of the town during that period.

Archaeologists spared a couple of years unearthing the 75,000 sq ft site as part of the objective of the Israel Land Authority to develop the city of Yavne and accommodate more population.

The well designed and structured winery provided the regional wine by the name Ashkelon or Gaza which was then sold throughout the Mediterranean region. It was common among children and adults to consume wine in the Byzantine period(520 CE) owing to the low quality of potable water.

The site is located in the central region of Israel and during that period it would have been a strategically significant place to be on the map alongside the holy city of Jerusalem.

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first published:October 13, 2021, 17:39 IST