1,300 yr-old olive press unearthed at Ancient Shiloh


Ancient Shiloh, the capital of Israel for 369 years & home of the Ark of the Covenant, was also the region’s main manufacturer of olive oil as seen by the large size of the press and its proximity to a similar one found in 2011.

By Efrat Forsher


A 1,300-year-old public olive press was unearthed recently at the Ancient Shiloh archaeological park, in the Binyamin region of Judea and Samaria. The olive press is proof that aside from being the capital of ancient Israel for 369 years and housing the Ark of the Covenant, Shiloh was also the region’s main manufacturer of olive oil.

The 1,300-year-old olive press at Ancient Shiloh – Photo: Ancient Shiloh Archive

Researchers arrived at the conclusion due to the uniquely large size of the olive press, which was discovered during the most recent excavation at Tel Shiloh, headed by archaeologist Dr. Ofer Gat. Another olive press was found nearby in 2011. The sizes of the presses and their proximity to one another indicate the public nature of the oil-manufacturing industry, its importance and its scope.

A large stock of charred olive pits was found near the press, along with shards from terra-cotta candles and light cones characteristic of that period.

During the upcoming Hanukkah holiday, Ancient Shiloh will host activities for families, including olive picking, manufacturing oil with an ancient press, filling bottles with olive oil, and more.


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