One of the largest wine presses ever discovered in Israel was unearthed during an excavation by the Israel Antiquities Authority (IAA) in a region to be used for agriculture by a new community slated to be built for the evacuees from Gush Katif.
Gush Katif was a bloc of 17 Israeli settlements in the southern Gaza Strip that Israel evacuated in 2005 as part of the unilateral disengagement from Gaza.
The wine press was used to produce wine in the Late Byzantine period (sixth-seventh centuries CE). It is 1,400 years old and measures about 21 x 54 feet.
According to Uzi Ad, IAA excavation director, “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…”
He also says, “This is a complex wine press that reflects a very high level of technology for this period.”
There are plans to conserve the site and open it to the general public.