Herodotus Returns

1,400-year-old Byzantine wine press uncovered in Israel
February 16, 2010, 8:46 am
Filed under: Byzantine, Israel | Tags: , ,

A Byzantine wine press dating back 1,400 years has been found in Israel. Given its massive size, it has been called an ‘industrial wine press;’ most likely the wine it produced was exported to Egypt or to Europe.

The impressive wine press is 1,400 years old and measures 6.5 x 16.5 meters. It was discovered southwest of Kibbutz Hafetz-Haim and was partly damaged during the installation of the infrastructure there.

According to Uzi Ad, excavation director on behalf of the Israel Antiquities Authority, “What we have here seems to be an industrial and crafts area of a settlement from the sixth-seventh century CE, which was situated in the middle of an agricultural region. The size of the wine press attests to the fact that the quantity of wine that was produced in it was exceptionally large, and was not meant for local consumption. Instead it was intended for export, probably to Egypt, which was a major export market at the time, or to Europe. An identical wine press was previously exposed north of Ashkelon,¬†about 20 kilometers from the wine press that was just found in Nahal Soreq and we can assume that the two installations were built by the same craftsman.” Ad adds that “The wine press’ collecting vats were neither circular nor square as was the custom, but octagonal. And since this method of construction is far from being practical because sediment would accumulate in the corners of the vats, it seems that they were built in this manner for primarily aesthetic reasons.”

More on the Byzantine wine press here.


Israeli exhibition about theft of antiquities is robbed
January 24, 2010, 6:56 pm
Filed under: Alexander the Great, Israel | Tags: , ,

The gods of archaeology are smirking. The ‘Antiquities Theft of Israel’ exhibit in Israel has been robbed. Among other things, thieves made off with a silver ring belonging to Alexander the Great.

Organisers of the “Antiquities Theft in Israel” in Jerusalem could not have chosen a more fitting name for their exhibition.

On Wednesday burglars broke into the a museum in Ashdod where hundreds of artefacts recovered from the black market were on show and snatched several valuable items, including a silver ring belonging to Alexander the Great.

The newspaper Haaretz said the robbers also took ancient silver coins and other items from archaeological digs including a bronze spear, two gold earrings, some pottery and coins from the Hellenistic period.

The exhibit at the Korin Maman Museum in the coastal city of Ashdod was set up to educate the Israeli public about efforts to tackle antiquities theft.

More on the robbery.