Boys discover and begin excavation of an ancient winepress in Israel

Boys discover and begin excavation of an ancient winepress in Israel

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Some boys in Israel began excavating a 1,400-year-old winepress, without knowing what they really had in hand. The Israeli Antiquities Authority learned of the find and went to the site to take over the excavation, which has thrown light on the history of wine production in the region.

The excavation of these boys was discovered when a woman was jogging in the area and realized that an archaeological dig was underway but without the usual symbols that prevent the curious from approaching and touching, as reported by the Ha'artez newspaper.

The woman notified the Israeli Antiquities Authority, which was in charge of sending inspectors to the site, who claimed that whoever was carrying out this excavation, completely unknown to the Authority, was doing it very carefully. Anyway, despite the best of intentions, unauthorized excavations could cause the loss of valuable information or damage structures or objects.

After a while, the inspectors realized that a 13-year-old boy was loitering around the place. Amit Ram, head of Archeology for the Authority in the Jerusalem district told Ha’artez:

After we asked him what he was doing there, the boy reported without any problem and with some pride that he and his friends had started that excavation. On the one hand, it is a crime, but we also realized that those boys had acted in an innocent way, so we proposed to the boy that he and his friends help us and work like that for the community.

An ancient winepress.

The press found is large, measuring 5 × 5 meters. It is a large cistern in which the grapes are squeezed, perhaps by stepping on them. Grape juice flowed from the cistern to pipes carved into the stone that led to a container.

Ram has told that the winepress is probably from the 6th or 7th century but you are not sure if it is from the Byzantine or Muslim era, as he told the Ha'artez newspaper. This question may be clarified later, when the excavations progress.

Wine first appeared in Mesopotamia 6,000 years ago. The Bible is full of references to wine and in the Middle East there are old wineries everywhere.

Video: Pressing Grapes the Ancient Way