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2,600-year-old wine ‘factory’ unearthed in Lebanon

Sep 15

2,600-year-old wine ‘factory’ unearthed in Lebanon

ARCHAEOLOGISTS HAVE UNEARTHED new evidence of the extensive overseas trade in wine by the ancient Phoenicians, with the discovery of the oldest wine press in Lebanon.

The find sheds new light on winemaking by the Phoenicians, the seafaring merchants who introduced a culture of drinking wine throughout the ancient Mediterranean, and whose influence lives on in the beverage’s worldwide popularity.

Excavations at Tell el-Burak, about five miles south of the Lebanese coastal city of Sidon, have revealed the well-preserved remains of a wine press used from at least the seventh century B.C. It is the earliest wine press ever found in the Phoenician homelands, which roughly corresponded to modern Lebanon. The discovery is featured in a study published Monday in the journal Antiquity.

Large numbers of seeds show grapes were brought there from nearby vineyards and crushed by treading feet in a large basin of durable plaster that could hold about 1,200 gallons of raw juice.

The resulting “must” was collected in a large vat and stored in distinctive pottery jars known as amphorae for fermenting, aging, and transport.

yalibnan