Large Roman winery, baths exposed in Jerusalem
|An ancient rural estate comprising a manor house, large wine press, Roman bathhouse|
and Jewish Mikye, or ritual bath, has been unearthed in Jerusalem beneath
a famous orphanage [Credit: IAA]
Interesting and assorted finds from Jerusalem's past were discovered in the archaeological excavation, most notably a large and impressive winery dating to the Roman or Byzantine period, some 1,600 years ago.
|Alex Wiegmann, excavation director, views winepress uncovered |
in Schneller Compound [Credit: IAA]
|The buildings and pottery found at the site are some 1,600 years old and have |
been dated to the Roman or Byzantine period. This image shows some
of the mosaic tiles that were on the wine press [Credit: IAA]
Eight cells were installed around the pressing surface. These were used for storing the grapes, and possibly also for blending the must with other ingredients thereby producing different flavors of wine.
|The ruins were discovered by archaeologists from the Israel Antiquities Authority|
who were excavating the site of the Schneller Orphanage ahead of the
construction of flats [Credit: IAA]
|Terra cotta pipes indicate the existence of an ancient bathhouse |
Evidence was unearthed next to the impressive winepress which indicates the presence of a bathhouse there.
|In the centre of the wine press is a pit in which a press screw was anchored that|
aided in extracting the maximum amount of juice, or must, from the grapes
|Numerous ancient pottery shards and fragments of glassware that were found inside|
a plastered pit exposed at the site, indicating the possibility that a workshop
operated there which used the ancient pit for discarding waste
Among the Roman legion's main centers was the one in the vicinity of Binyanei Ha-Uma, located just c. 800 meters from the current excavation, where a large pottery and brick production center was situated.
|Some bricks are stamped with the name of the Tenth Roman Legion, suggesting |
soldiers were garrisoned there, having played a role in the conquest of
Jewish Jerusalem in 70AD [Credit: IAA]
|A picture of some of the pottery recovered at the site |
The current archeological exposure is actually a continuation of the salvage excavations that were carried out at the site half a year ago when evidence was uncovered there of a Jewish settlement that dated to the Late Second Temple period.
According to archaeologist Alex Wiegmann, excavation director on behalf of the Israel Antiquities Authority, "Once again, Jerusalem demonstrates that wherever one turns over a stone ancient artifacts will be found related to the city's glorious past. The archaeological finds discovered here help paint a living, vibrant and dynamic picture of Jerusalem as it was in ancient times up until the modern era."
According to Amit Re'em, the Jerusalem district archaeologist, "This is an excellent example of many years of cooperation and deep and close ties with the Haredi community. The general public is used to hearing of the clashes between the archaeologists and the orthodox community around the issue of the graves, but is unaware of the joint work done on a daily basis and the interest expressed by the ultra-orthodox sector. The Israel Antiquities Authority is working to instill our ancient cultural heritage in this population, as it does with other sectors."
Source: Israel Antiquities Authority [March 02, 2016]