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December 2, 2015 10:24 am

1,300-Year-Old Olive Press Unearthed at Israeli Archaeological Park

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The 1,300-year-old olive press at Ancient Shiloh. Photo: Ancient Shiloh Archive.

The 1,300-year-old olive press at Ancient Shiloh. Photo: Ancient Shiloh Archive.

JNS.org – A 1,300-year-old public olive press was recently unearthed at the Ancient Shiloh archaeological park in the Binyamin region of Judea and Samaria. The olive press is proof that aside from being the capital of ancient Israel for 369 years and housing the Ark of the Covenant, Shiloh was also the region’s main manufacturer of olive oil.

Researchers arrived at the conclusion due to the uniquely large size of the olive press, which was discovered during the most recent excavation at Tel Shiloh, headed by archaeologist Dr. Ofer Gat. Another olive press was found nearby in 2011. The sizes of the presses and their proximity to one another indicate the public nature of the oil-manufacturing industry, its importance, and its scope.

A large stock of charred olive pits was found near the press, along with shards from terra-cotta candles and light cones characteristic of that period.

During the upcoming Hanukkah holiday, Ancient Shiloh will host activities for families, including olive picking, manufacturing oil with an ancient press, filling bottles with olive oil, and more.

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