Photos: Monks May Have Pressed Wine and Oil in Ancient Monastery
Archaeologists have found an ancient compound with mosaics, a winepress and an oil press that dates back to the Byzantine era. The archaeologist team found some of the walls of the compound hiding in plain site just about 19 miles (30 kilometers) west of Jerusalem.
The excavation uncovered a large compound with an outer wall divided into two regions: one from industrial use and the other for living quarters.
Wine and oil press
The compound has a large winepress and a well-preserved oil press. The impressive size of the operation indicates that the building's inhabitants made wine and oil on an industrial scale.
House of worship?
It's possible the compound once served as a monastery for monks who made the oil and wine during the Byzantine era, the archaeologists said.
The archaeologists found several mosaics in rooms within the compound's dwelling space, including this one showing a cluster of grapes with flowers within geometric shapes.
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Laura is the archaeology and Life's Little Mysteries editor at Live Science. She also reports on general science, including paleontology. Her work has appeared in The New York Times, Scholastic, Popular Science and Spectrum, a site on autism research. She has won multiple awards from the Society of Professional Journalists and the Washington Newspaper Publishers Association for her reporting at a weekly newspaper near Seattle. Laura holds a bachelor's degree in English literature and psychology from Washington University in St. Louis and a master's degree in science writing from NYU.
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