` 1,300 Year-Old Olive Oil Factory Excavated in Israel - Olive Oil Times

1,300 Year-Old Olive Oil Factory Excavated in Israel

Aug. 27, 2012
Vikas Vij

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The Israel Antiquities Authority (IAA) has unearthed a unique indus­trial olive press belong­ing to the Byzantine-Muslim era that existed between 6th and 8th cen­tury CE. The site was dis­cov­ered dur­ing exca­va­tions in the Tel Aviv sub­urb of Hod Hasharon.

The exca­va­tors dis­cov­ered a press­ing floor for olives, trenches, cis­terns that drained and stored fresh olive oil, and a pip­ing sys­tem. Stone weights used for press­ing olive sacks were also found beside the ruins. Amit Re’em, Central District Archaeologist with the IAA said that the olive oil fac­tory was carved out of older build­ing stones that were buried into the earth.
The Hod Hasharon olive press dis­cov­ery is excep­tional because usu­ally such olive presses were hewn out of the liv­ing rock that was already in place. However, in this case, the soft earth required the con­struc­tion of a solid foun­da­tion. Therefore, mason-worked blocks were used to build the press.

Durar Masarwa, the leader of the exca­va­tion team said: We dis­cov­ered the sur­face on which olive oil was extracted as well as a net­work of pipes, canals and holes that drained the liq­uid oil.” According to IAA experts, the size of the press sug­gests that it was meant for com­mer­cial pro­duc­tion, and not per­sonal use.

The munic­i­pal­ity of Hod Hasharon is con­sid­er­ing the pos­si­bil­ity of estab­lish­ing an archae­o­log­i­cal park at the loca­tion in order to pre­serve this rare dis­cov­ery for posterity.

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