Wed. May 25th, 2022

Yavne, Israel: Israeli archaeologists say they have discovered a massive ancient wine-making complex dating back to around 1500 years.

The complex, which was discovered in the central town of Yavne, includes five wine presses, warehouses, kilns for making clay storage vessels and tens of thousands of fragments and jars, they said.

Avshalom Davidesko of the Israel Antiquities Authority examines a jar in the old winery south of Tel Aviv.

Avshalom Davidesko of the Israel Antiquities Authority examines a jar in the old winery south of Tel Aviv.Credit:AP

Israel’s antiquities authority said the discovery shows that Yavne was a winery in the Byzantine period. Researchers estimate that the plant can produce about 2 million liters of wine a year.

Jon Seligman, one of the directors of the excavation, said the wine produced in the area was known as “Gaza” wine and exported to the entire region.

The researchers believe that the Yavne location was the most important production facility for the label.

An aerial photo of the complex in Yavne.

An aerial photo of the complex in Yavne.Credit:AP

“This was a prestige wine, a light white wine, and it was taken to many, many countries around the Mediterranean,” he said, including Egypt, Turkey, Greece and possibly southern Italy.

Seligman said wine was not only an important export and source of enjoyment in ancient times.

“Besides that, this was an important source of nutrition and it was a safe drink because the water was often polluted so they could drink wine safely,” he said.

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