Israeli archaeologists discover ancient winemaking complicate

Yavne, Israel: Israeli archaeologists say they have unearthed a enormous ancient winemaking complicate dating back some 1500 years.

The complicate, discovered in the central town of Yavne, includes five wine presses, warehouses, kilns for producing clay storage vessels and tens of thousands of particles and jars, they said.

Avshalom Davidesko from Israel’s Antiquities Authority examines a jar in the ancient winemaking complicate south of Tel Aviv.Credit:AP

Israel’s Antiquities Authority said the discovery shows that Yavne was a wine-making powerhouse during the Byzantine period. Researchers calculate the facility could produce some 2 million litres of wine a year.

Jon Seligman, one of the directors of the excavation, said the wine made in the area was known as “Gaza” wine and exported across the vicinity.

The researchers believe the Yavne location was the main production facility for the label.

An aerial view of the complicate in Yavne.Credit:AP

“This was a prestige wine, a light white wine, and it was taken to many, many countries around the Mediterranean,” he said, including Egypt, Turkey, Greece and possibly southern Italy.

Seligman said wine was not just an important export and source of enjoyment in ancient times.

“Beyond that, this was a major source of nutrition and this was a safe drink because the water was often polluted, so they could drink wine safely,” he said.

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