Excavations at the Tel Aviv suburb Hod Hasharon uncovered a major olive oil production center from the 6th-8th centuries C.E. Dating to the late Byzantine or early Muslim period, the structure includes mechanisms for pressing olives into oil as well as a system of canals and cisterns to collect the liquid. The press system was carved into hewn stone floors that were imported to cover the soft, red soil that characterizes the area. The production is unique in Israel, where most oil factories were carved directly into the local bedrock.
Read more in The Times of Israel
Olive oil was a precious commodity in ancient times. BAS Library members can read more about the production of olive oil and its prominent role in the Mediterranean economy in the Archaeology Odyssey article “Ancient Life: Liquid Gold: A brief history of olive oil” as well as Seymour Gitin’s Biblical Archaeology Review article “Ekron of the Philistines, Part II: Olive-Oil Suppliers to the World.”