A rescue dig conducted by the
Israel Antiquities Authority in Hod Hasharon, a ten minutes drive from Tel
Aviv, has uncovered a rare olive press from the Byzantine period, some 1,300
years ago. The excavation was being done ahead of the building of a new road in
the area, near Kfar Malal. The dig revealed a surface for pressing the olives
and a system of channels and holes for draining the oil.
Unlike most olive presses found
in Israel, this one was not set up on bedrock, because most of the ground in
the area is soft, but rather on a level floor made of dressed stone and large
building slabs that had been brought to the area. The pressing stones, used to
extract the oil, were also found nearby.
Israel Antiquities Authority
Central District archaeologist Amit Re’em and the head of the excavation, Durar
Masarwa, said the size of the press suggested that it was not for personal or
family use but was instead used to produce commercial quantities of olive oil.
Hod Hasharon has several
archaeological sites from different eras. In the Gil Amal neighborhood there is
a multilayered site that dates from the Chalcolithic period (between about 4500 and 3500 B.C.E.) through the Byzantine period. Not far from there, near the
headwaters of the Yarkon River, is a large site with finds from the Middle
Bronze era (around 3300-1200 B.C.E.)