Yavne, Israel — Israeli archaeologists said on Monday that they had unearthed a huge ancient winemaking facility dating back about 1,500 years.
Discovered in downtown Yavne, they said the complex contained five wine presses, a warehouse, a kiln for making clay storage containers, and tens of thousands of debris and bottles.
The Israeli antique bureau said the finding indicates that Yavne was a Byzantine winemaking power. Researchers estimate that the facility can produce over 520,000 gallons of wine annually.
John Seligman, one of the heads of the excavation, said the wines made in the region are known as “Gaza” wines and are exported throughout the region. Researchers believe that the location of Yavne was the label’s main production facility.
“This is a prestige wine, a pale white wine, brought to many countries around the Mediterranean,” he said. Includes Egypt, Turkey, Greece, and perhaps Southern Italy.
Mr Serigman said wine was an important export of ancient times and not just a source of fun. “Beyond that, this is a major source of nutrition, a safe drink because the water was often contaminated, and they were able to drink wine safely,” he said.
Ancient officials said the complex was discovered in the last two years during an archaeological survey conducted as part of the development of Yavne, a town south of Tel Aviv.
By Tsafrir Abayov