`Submerged Village Might Be Home to the First Olive Mills - Olive Oil Times

Submerged Village Might Be Home to the First Olive Mills

By Isabel Putinja
Dec. 15, 2014 11:35 UTC

Maritime archae­ol­o­gists from Australia and Israel are exca­vat­ing a 7,500-year-old under­wa­ter vil­lage that may have been the old­est olive oil pro­duc­tion cen­ter in the world. The Levantine vil­lage dat­ing back to the Neolithic period is sub­merged under 5 meters of water at a site called Kfar Samir off the coast of Haifa, Israel.

The exca­va­tion team is made up of mar­itime archae­ol­o­gists Jonathan Benjamin from Flinders University, Australia and Ehud Galili, of the Israel Antiques Authority and the University of Haifa, Israel. Previous exca­va­tions at the site have sug­gested olive oil may have been pro­duced in the pre­his­toric set­tle­ment, which would make it the world’s old­est cen­ter for olive oil pro­duc­tion.

A 1997 study, pub­lished in the Journal of Archaeological Science, described the under­wa­ter exca­va­tions at Kfar Samir which uncov­ered thou­sands of crushed olive stones and olive pulp buried in pits. The dis­cov­ery revealed that olive oil pro­duc­tion tech­nol­ogy was used in this region as early as 6,500 years ago, 500 years ear­lier than pre­vi­ously believed.

During the recent exca­va­tions, the research team dug out a struc­ture which was once a fresh water well that had later been used for waste dis­posal. The researchers took sam­ples of the sand cov­er­ing the well which when ana­lyzed may give impor­tant insights into the soci­ety that once lived in the ancient vil­lage, includ­ing details about their early Mediterranean diet and trade prac­tices.


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