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The Hippos Winery Complex

  • The Zinman Institute of Archaeology

Abstract and Figures

Hippos became the seat of a bishopric as early as the mid‑4th century CE. Judging by at least seven churches that were built at the site, most of which continued to function deep into the Early Islamic Period, Christians were the dominant inhabitants at Hippos until the full abandonment of the city following the 749 CE earthquake.1 Hence, it is not surprising to find winery installations in a city like Hippos during the Byzantine and Early Islamic periods. The largest and most complex winery at Hippos, which is at the core of this paper, is located on the northern and southern sides of the Northwest Church Complex.
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2000 - 2011
Volume II
Hippos-Sussita of the Decapolis
The First Twelve Seasons of Excavations
2000 - 2011
Volume II
Michael Eisenberg
With contributions by
Mariusz Burdajewicz, Institute of Mediterranean and Oriental Cultures,
Polish Academy of Sciences, Warsaw
Adi Erlich, The Zinman Institute of Archaeology, University of Haifa
Rafael Frankel, The Zinman Institute of Archaeology, University of Haifa
Rachel Hesse, Durham University
Hector Hinojosa-Prieto, Cologne University
Klaus-G. Hinzen, Cologne University
Emilia Jastrzębska, Warsaw, Poland
Lev-Arie Kapitaikin, Art History Department, Tel Aviv University
Shmuel Marco, Department of Geosciences, Tel Aviv University
Mechael Osband, The Zinman Institute of Archaeology, University of Haifa
Silvia Rozenberg, Israel Museum, Jerusalem
Patrick Sco-Geyer, The Zinman Institute of Archaeology, University of Haifa
Tsvika Tsuk, The Israel Nature and Parks Authority
Neta Wechsler, Department of Geosciences, Tel Aviv University
Oren Zingboym, Israel Antiquities Authority
Published by
The Zinman Institute of Archaeology
University of Haifa, Mount Carmel
Haifa 3498838
Language Editor: Rebecca Toueg
Poery Plates: Alexander Iermolin, Mariusz Burdajewicz, Anat Regev Gisis and Nofar Shamir
Glass Plates: Mariusz Burdajewicz
Design and Layout: Anya Hayat and Anat Regev Gisis
ISBN 978-965-7547-06-9
© 2018 The Zinman Institute of Archaeology and the writers
This book was published with the support of the Israel Science Foundation.
Printed by Millenium Ayalon LTD
ןמניז ש“ע היגולואיכראל ןוכמה
The Zinman Institute of Archaeology
This volume is dedicated to Prof. Arthur Segal
who initiated and headed The Hippos-Sussita Excavation Project
for the rst twelve seasons (2000-2011).
LIST OF FIGURES . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5
ChApTEr 1. INTRODUCTION . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .10
Michael Eisenberg
ChApTEr 2. HISTORICAL EARTHQUAKES AROUND THE SEA OF GALILEE . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .16
Neta Wechsler, Shmuel Marco, Klaus-G. Hinzen and Hector Hinojosa-Prieto
ChApTEr 3. THE NECROPOLEIS . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 24
Oren Zingboym
ChApTEr 4. THE WATER SUPPLY SYSTEM . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 44
Tsvika Tsuk
ChApTEr 5. THE HIPPOS WINERY COMPLEX . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 56
Rafael Frankel and Michael Eisenberg
ChApTEr 6. HUMAN SKELETAL REMAINS . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 74
Emilia Jastrzębska
ChApTEr 7. FINAL POTTERY REPORT OF THE 2010-2011 EXCAVATION SEASONS . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .88
Lev-Arie Kapitaikin
ChApTEr 8. SUMMARY OF THE POTTERY FINDS . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 210
Mechael Osband and Michael Eisenberg
Mariusz Burdajewicz
ChApTEr 10. STUCCO RELIEF DEPICTING MYTHOLOGICAL FIGURES . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 320
Adi Erlich
ChApTEr 11. WALL PAINTING AND STUCCO FRAGMENTS . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 328
Silvia Rozenberg
ChApTEr 12. POLLEN ANALYSIS . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 370
Patrick Scott-Geyer
ChApTEr 13. THE PIG DEPOSIT IN EARLY ISLAMIC HIPPOS . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 378
Rachel Hesse
The Hippos Winery Complex
Rafael Frankel and Michael Eisenberg
The Zinman Institute of Archaeology, University of Haifa
The Hippos Winery Complex
Hippos became the seat of a bishopric as early as the mid‑4th
century CE. Judging by at least seven churches that were built
at the site, most of which continued to function deep into the
Early Islamic Period, Christians were the dominant inhabitants at
Hippos until the full abandonment of the city following the 749 CE
Hence, it is not surprising to find winery installations
in a city like Hippos during the Byzantine and Early Islamic periods.
The largest and most complex winery at Hippos, which is at the
core of this paper, is located on the northern and southern sides
of the Northwest Church Complex (NWC) (Figs. 5.1–5.3).2
1 ForafullhistoriographicaldescriptionofHipposseeDvorjetski,“TheHistoricalGeographyofSussita-AntiochiaHippos-Qal’atel-Huѕn”,inHippos
Summary Report I,p.40–63;fortheurbanplanseeSegal,“UrbanPlanandCityLandscape”,inHippos Summary Report I, p. 64–85.
2 TheNorthwestChurchwasexcavatedbyProf.J.MłynarczykandDr.M.Burdajewicz.Wewishtothankthembothfortheircooperationinpreparing
thispaper.Forthearchaeologicalreportsofthenorthernwinerysee:MłynarczykandBurdajewicz,“North-WestChurchComplex”,inHippos 2005,
p.36–45;MłynarczykandBurdajewicz,“TheNorthwestChurchComplex”,Hippos Summary Report I, p. 194–217. The southern winery complex was
2007, p. 112–114.
3 ForafulldiscussionofthesanctuaryandthetempleseeSegal,“HellenisticSanctuary”,HipposSummaryReportI,p.128–147.
4 Segal,“HellenisticSanctuary”,Hippos Summary Report I, p. 145–146.
The Northwest Church (NWC) and
its Agricultural Installations
The NWC was erected inside the temenos (Hellenistic Sanctuary) on
(Figs. 5.1–5.3, 5.6–5.7). A courtyard, a few foundation walls and the
podium together with a short staircase are the only remains of the
temple. Some of the church walls are based on the foundations of
to the south of the church.
The temple was dated to the reigns
of Augustus or Tiberius (end 1st century BCE to early 1st century
CE).4 The church or at least part of it was in use until the 749 CE
Fig. 5.1 The Temenos (Hellenistic Compound). Aerial view.
Rafael Frankel and Michael Eisenberg
earthquake. The debris and the reliquaries left standing beneath
it are evidence for the sudden destruction of the church. From the
late Byzantine period until 749 CE the area to the south and north
of the church was used for industrial purposes. The narrow space to
the south of the church, between the southern church wall (W243)
and the southern temenos wall (W156) was transformed to serve
as part of this industrial area.
Here, the pavement of the former
plaster (Figs. 5.1–5.3, 5.5–5.6). Part of an olive press complex was
exposed in situ at the eastern end of the courtyard (Figs. 5.1–5.3,
5.6–5.8). It consisted of a stone base for a screw press with a
collecting basin.
The screw press is of a type which is typical of the
region (Frankel 1999: Type T 732, Map 31). The press was probably
a single rotating screw press (Frankel 1999: Model 7A1, fig.24) but
5 As early as the beginning of the 8th century CE Hippos became more of an industrial town than a city. Some parts of the city were abandoned and
other parts, mainly in the city center, turned into industrial areas. Among these were a large bakery southeast of the temenos, an olive press south
of the Cathedral, and large areas of the above‑mentioned temenos. See: Eisenberg 2016; Segal, Hippos Summary Report I, p. 80–85; Segal, Hippos
2007, p. 19–22, figs. 22–26.
6 MłynarczykandBurdajewicz,“ExplorationofTheNorth-WestChurchComplex”,Hippos 2002, p. 25–27, figs. 2, 42.
7 Several publications have dealt recently with the ancient oil and wine industries. See: Avrutis 2015; Ayalon, Frankel and Kloner 2012; Ayalon, Frankel
8 FortheexcavationreportsandsummaryofthenortherninstallationsoftheNWC,seeMłynarczykandBurdajewicz,“TheNorthwestChurchComplex”,
Hippos 2006,p.57,fig.82;MłynarczykandBurdajewicz,“TheNorthwestChurchComplex”,Hippos Summary Report I, p. 214–215, figs. 277, 294. For
thesoutherninstallations,seeMłynarczykandBurdajewicz,“ExplorationofTheNorth-WestChurchComplex”, Hippos 2002, p. 24–28, figs. 2, 6,
9–10,42,46–48;Segal,“TheHellenisticCompound”,Hippos 2003,p.14–15;SegalandEisenberg,“TheHellenisticCompound”,Hippos 2004, p. 20–23,
figs.9–10,39–49;SegalandEisenberg,“TheHellenisticCompound”,Hippos 2005, p. 23–26, figs. 5–6, 50–52.
may have been a press with two fixed screws (Frankel 1999: Model
7B, fig.26), a type used both in Upper Galilee and in the Golan in
recent times (Frankel et al 1994: fig. 123 esp. B and D).7
The Winery Complex
Nine installations were uncovered, all of which are situated around
and integrally connected with the NWC (Figs. 5.1–5.4, 5.7).8 Three of
the installations are large, one to the northeast (NE) of the church,
another to the southeast (SE) and the third to the southwest (SW)
(Figs. 5.1–5.4, 5.7, 5.12). These are of the usual type of wine press
consisting of three main elements: a treading floor, a collecting vat
and a screw mortice in the centre of the treading floor. The other six
installations are situated together to the west of the SW wine‑press
Fig. 5.2 The Temenos. Aerial view towards southwest.
The Hippos Winery Complex
Fig. 5.3 The southern winery. A plan.
Rafael Frankel and Michael Eisenberg
in two groups of three, one to the west of a sunken path and the
other to the east of the path (Figs. 5.1–5.4, 5.11). These six are quite
different in character from the first three, consisting primarily of
a small treading (?) floor. The three installations in the eastern
group have in addition a small collecting basin, while the three
in the western group lack any fixed collecting installation. These
six installations are very unusual, and this is the main justification
9 We have decided to name all of these wine production installations ‘a winery complex’. although the term ‘wine‑press’ is also frequently used in
our publications. The single installations used as a press will be named wine‑press or a press.
for devoting an article to the Hippos installations. In addition, the
Hippos winery complex is among the largest and best preserved
in the north of Israel.9
The Large Wine Presses
The three large wine presses are almost identical in plan (Figs. 5.1–5.4,
5.7, 5.12). The treading floors of all three are almost perfect squares
and of identical size, approximately 25 m2. The collecting vats are
rectangular and all three are approached by steps that extend
across the entire width of the narrow side. Their volumes are:
NE press 5.7 m3; SE press 6.3 m3 and SW press 3.7 m3 (effective
volume i. e. up to outlet of intermediate vat, total of all three 15.7
m3). In all three vats there are rounded sumps located at the
bottom of the steps adjacent the wall of the vat (Figs. 5.3–5.4,
5.7, 5.9, 5.12–5.14, 5.16–5.17). All the vats were plastered, the vats
themselves twice over and the steps five times. It seems that due
to the continual erosion of the steps it was necessary to replaster
them more frequently (Figs. 5.13–5.19). All the plaster layers are
pinkish in color and include ceramic sherds as part of the binding
material (Fig. 5.20).
The treading floors are paved with rectangular basalt flagstones,
probably in secondary use. The SW treading floor differs from the
other two in that the joints between the stones are sealed with
lead instead of plaster (Figs. 5.1–5.4, 5.7, 5.21–5.22). The SW and SE
wine presses have small intermediate vats that probably served
to sieve the must (Figs. 5.7, 5.22–5.24).
In the centre of the northern and southern walls of the SW treading
floor there are remains of pilasters, which clearly served to support
a roof (Figs. 5.3–5.4, 5.7, 5.17). We presume that the other two
treading floors were also roofed in the same manner.
An unusual element found in the two southern wine presses is a
small basin that probably served to wash the feet of the workers
(Figs. 5.3, 5.7, 5.13–5.14, 5.17, 5.23). Both basins are placed at the
southern edge of the wine presses between the treading floors
and the collecting vats so that those coming from the southern
courtyard and working in either area could use them. In the
Geoponica (VI:11, translation, White 1970, p. XV) it is specifically
stated that “the men that tread must get into the press after having
To the west of the SW wine‑press there are small plastered auxiliary
floors (Figs. 5.3–5.4, 5.7, 5.10–5.11). In each floor there is a small
channel that drains to the west away from the main treading floor. A
Fig. 5.4 The southern winery. A section.
Fig. 5.5 A fragment of the temple courtyard and the remains of
Fig. 5.6 The temple courtyard, photographed from the SE
treading floor of the southern winery towards southwest. Note
the olive press at the leftmost part of the photograph.
The Hippos Winery Complex
wide wall separates the auxiliary floors from the main floor, but at the
southern end of this wall there is a plastered opening (Figs. 5.25–5.26).
Originally there was probably a similar plastered opening at the other
end of the wall for the other floor, but it has not survived. Auxiliary
floors are common in complex wine presses, and leaving the grapes
in the sun before treading was recommended both by Columella
(Rei Rusticae XII.27) and by Pliny the Elder (Naturalis Historia XIV. 10,
77) in order to produce sweet wine.10
The grapes were left standing on the auxiliary floors for three days
before being transferred through the plastered openings to the
10 Frankel 1999, p. 139; Avshalom‑Gorni et al. 2008.
main floor for treading. The small channels in the auxiliary floors
were made to collect the first must that flowed from the grapes
before treading. The must that flows from the untrodden grapes
is called in Latin mustum lixivium which Columella (Rei Rustica XII.
27) clearly explains as: “the must which flowed into the must‑
called prototropum, which Pliny (Naturalis Historiae XIV. 11, 85)
explains as: “the liquor called in Greek prototropum, the name
given by some people to must that flows down of its own accord
of wine called prototopum were apparently produced from the
Fig. 5.7 The southern winery complex and the olive press (upper left). Aerial view.
Fig. 5.8 The olive press. Fig. 5.9 The southern winery photographed from the
southeastern treading floor towards west.
Rafael Frankel and Michael Eisenberg
(Vitruvius, De Architectura VIII. 3,12)
North of the northern wall of the SW press a built tomb was
re‑used as a wine cellar. Several wine jars were found, dated to
the Byzantine‑Umayyad Period (L295) (Figs. 5.1, 5.3, 5.7, 5.27).11
It was previously suggested that the rectangular hall with a mosaic
floor to the west of the NE press (L210W) served as a fermentation
11 MłynarczykandBurdajewicz,“TheNorth-WestChurch”,Hippos 2004, p. 55–57, figs. 18–19, 61–63.
12 MłynarczykandBurdajewicz,“North-WestChurchComplex”,Hippos 2005, p. 42–45, fig. 65.
13 Cf. Frankel 1999, p.181–183, chart 5.
14 Dentzer‑Feydy et al. 2003: Si 8, c.5x6m. [pl. 90]; Si 21, c 4x4 m. [pl. 96.1]; Si 91,1 c.4.5x4.5 m. [pl. 98.1]; pressoir 353 c.4.7x5 m. [pl. 102].
15 Frankel 1999, p. 181–183 chart 5.
16 Khalil and al‑Nammari 2000, fig.2.
17 Frankel 1999, p.86–88.
18 See discussion in Frankel 1999, p. 192–193.
19 SallerandBagatti1949,pl.18:1,24:1;Picirillo1993,pl.334;Dentzer-Feydyetal.2003pl.121.Renan1874,pl.49;Frankel1999,fig40.
floor (Figs. 5.1–5.3, 5.28).12 However, the entrance to the hall is from
the west and not from the east and there is no direct connection
between the wine‑press and the hall. The function of this hall is
Before discussing the screw mortices, we will compare the treading
floors and collecting vats to those of other sites. As regards to size,
the treading floors are of an average size. Much larger ones have
been recorded, reaching an area of 49m
The treading floors are
very similar, both in size and in the way they were paved, using
basalt flagstones, to a group of wine presses published from Jebel
al‑’Arab east of Suweida about 90 km to the east of Hippos.
volume capacity of the collecting vats (6.3 m3; 5.7m3 and 3.7 m3)
are also very similar to those of other wine presses, although
these are occasionally much larger.15 Steps leading down to the
collecting vats are very common, but it is unusual for them to be
along the whole width of the vat. Similar steps can be found at
the site of Khirbet Yajuz in Jordan,
where they also extend along
the narrow side of the vat. However, in Kh. Yajuz, the narrow side
faces the treading floor. The vats of the two southern wine‑presses
temple that once stood here. The steps of the vats were however
added later.
The Screw Mortices
All three presses have a mortice for a single fixed screw press, a
type of press typical of wine presses in the southern Levant. The
rape, the skins and stalks remaining after treading, are piled up
around the fixed screw. A hole in the pressing board (or platen)
made it possible to slip the board over the screw and lay it on
the rape. Turning a nut on top of the board forced it downwards,
exerting pressure on the rape.
As opposed to other types of presses such as lever and weights
presses, lever and drum presses, lever and screw presses, direct
pressure screw presses and wedge presses, all of which are referred
to in classical literature by writers such as Cato, Vitruvius, Pliny the
Elder and Hero of Alexandria, the single fixed screw wine‑press
does not appear in classical literature.17 It is however hinted at
Jerusalem Talmud (Y ‘Abod. Zar.5.14, 45b).18Representationsofthis
type of press also appear on mosaic pavements in the southern
Levant. Three of them are from Jordan and one from Lebanon.19
Both the screw mortice and the press bed in which it is cut vary in
form. The press bed is usually either rectangular or round and the
difference is almost certainly connected to the way in which the
pressing was carried out.
Fig. 5.10 The six installations at the western part of the southern
Fig. 5.11 The six installations at western part of the southern
winery, a plan.
The Hippos Winery Complex
As opposed to other types of press, in the single fixed screw
press the substances to be pressed (in our case the rape left after
treading) could not be put in frails under the press as the screw
interferes. Instead, it was piled up around the screw, and therefore
it was necessary to enclose it in some manner. From ancient sources
we learn that there were two different methods for doing this,
one using a wooden frame and the other using a wound rope
(Fig. 5.35). Hero of Alexandria (Mechanica 3.16) describes two such
wooden frames in detail, calling them galeagra. Drachman suggests
that these are the regulae mentioned by Pliny the Elder and by
Columella as substitutes for pressing frails.
As regards ropes,
Hero (Mechanica 3.13) refers to “the rope that was wound round
םילבחב ןתוא םיפיקמ
). In the British Museum there is
a relief showing a rope wound around fruit (olives/grapes?).21 It
is interesting that one of the ways in which the “Baraitha of the
is that it adds ropes and wood to the materials of which pressing
20 Drachman 1932, p. 60.
21 Brun 2003, p. 200.
frails are made, clearly referring to the single fixed screw press.
round press beds are clearly meant for ropes and rectangular ones
for wooden frames.
The actual mortices also vary; The two main types are the square
bottom than at the top, some widening on one side and others
on two adjacent sides. The widening is in order to accommodate
the broad bottom of the screw and allow it to be fixed in position.
However, some of the square mortices, particularly those of the
Negev Highlands, are not widened at the bottom, and in those cases
the screw was apparently fixed in a wooden base that was emplaced
in the square mortice. In the closed dovetail Hanita press, one half
of the mortice has straight vertical sides while the other widens
towards the bottom on both sides to form the dovetail shaped
mortice. In this case the bottom of the screw that widens on both
sides is first inserted into the straight sided half and then moved
Fig. 5.12 The northern winery, looking towards west.
Fig. 5.13 The two vats of the southern winery. Looking towards
Fig. 5.14 The SE vat. Note the replastering of the staircase and
the round sump. Looking towards southwest.
Fig. 5.15 The SW vat, looking towards east.
Rafael Frankel and Michael Eisenberg
sideways into the dovetail mortice. The Ayalon press is found in
all parts of Israel except for the Upper Galilee and Phoenicia while
the Hanita press is found primarily in these two regions, although
a few examples are also found in the central regions of Israel.22 Of
the seven screw mortices published from Jebel al‑’Arab, five were
of the Hanita type (Hauran II: pls. 94,2; 96,1; 98,4; 101,2; 116,1). The
remaining two were slightly different, being L shaped rather than
The two main forms of the screw mortices are closely connected
to mortices of other devices found in the same regions. Square
mortices similar to those of the southern Ayalon press appear in
the Luvim screw weight found in the Sharon and Carmel regions
and in the main type of Grooved Pier Press.
Dovetailed mortices
similar to the northern Hanita press appear in Mi’ilya, Bet Ha‑’Emek,
and Din’ila screw weights, all being northern types (Frankel 1999:
maps 23, 22 and 20) that probably developed in Phoenicia in that
order. The Kasfa weight is also based on a dovetail mortice, but
while it is found in Israel only in the central regions it is the main
type in Syria and probably developed in the north from the Mi’ilya
Cato (XVIII. 9), when describing the pressing board of an
As the dovetail mortice appears to be typical of Phoenicia, it is very
probable that Cato is referring to that type of joint.26
Another element found in some single fixed screw wine presses is
a covered channel or pipe connecting the mortice to the collecting
vat, the main purpose of which was apparently to collect the must
from the screw press separately from that produced by treading.
Varro (Rerum Rusticarum LIV 3) recommends keeping the must
from the second pressing separately. The connecting channel also
kept the screw mortice drained which would benefit the quality of
the must and in addition prevent the wooden screw from rotting.
The screw mortices at Hippos are all of the Hanita type with central
dovetailed mortices as are others in the region, which suggests
22 Frankel 1999, p. 144,118–119, map 37; 2012, p.117–125.
23 Dentzer‑Feydy et al. 2003, pl. 94:1; 105:5. In the latter figure, only one section is presented so that the exact shape of the mortice is not clear.
24 Frankel 1999, p.117, map 23. Often called the Judean Pier Press, see Frankel 1999, p. 128, map 26.
25 Frankel 1997; 1999, p. 114, 118–119. See also Frankel 2012 and Ayalon 2015.
26 Frankel 1999, p. 86, 165; Drachman 1932, p. 118–9, fig. 39.
Fig. 5.16 The SE winery. Fig. 5.17 The SW winery.
Fig. 5.18 The upper eastern wall of the SW vat. Note the
Fig. 5.19 The staircase of the SW vat. Note the multiple
The Hippos Winery Complex
connections to Phoenicia (Figs. 5.1, 5.3, 5.7, 5.21–5.22, 5.29–5.34).
The press beds of the NE and SE wine presses were rectangular
but that of the SW press was round. It is of interest that at Yajuz
the shape of the press beds also differs from each other. The press
bed of the southern screw mortice is rectangular but that of the
northern is round.27
Apparently there was a connecting channel only in the SE screw
flag stones (Fig. 5.36).
The reading succeeded in penetrating the
basalt slabs and showed that the course of the channel is not a
direct one towards the exit to the vat, but instead it turns towards
the south and then turns west to the exit point.
As regards the actual mortices, none of the three are simple Hanita
dovetail mortices. In the NE and SE mortices, instead of the widening
sloping, it is stepped, while the SW mortice is again different and
27 Khalil and al‑Nammari 2000.
28 Conyers,“Ground-penetratingRadarTestsinHippos”,Hippos 2005, p. 104–105.
more complicated (Figs. 5.33–5.34). In front, on the south side, it
widens very sharply at the top in a circular fashion, and the back is
also rounded showing that the bottom of the wooden screw was
rounded as well. The SW press is different from the other two in
several ways. The paving stones are sealed with lead, the screw
mortice is rounded in section, and the press bed is also rounded.
At Yajuz the round press bed is the later one, suggesting that the
SW press at Hippos is also the later one.
The Small Installations
The six small installations standing to the west of the SW wine‑
press consist of two sets of three small adjacent floors on either
side of a sunken pathway (Figs. 5.1–5.4, 5.7, 5.10–5.11, 5.25–5.26).
Unlike the treading floors of the three presses described above
which are paved in basalt flagstones, all six installations are paved
in white mosaic. The installations are of different sizes; five are
Fig. 5.20 A detail of the plastering of the upper northern wall of
the SE vat.
Fig. 5.21 The SW treading floor.
Fig. 5.22 The SE treading floor.
Fig. 5.23 Sieving intermediate vats and a feet washing basin (?)
built to the western wall of the SW vat.
Rafael Frankel and Michael Eisenberg
29 For quantities of rainfall in the summer months, see Frankel 1999, p. 60.
30 For excavations at Athens and the Acropolis see Dorpfeld 1895, p.168–9, figs. 5, 6; for Greek vases see Frankel 1999, fig 2; Brun 2003, p. 198; for
mosaic pavements see Brun 2003, p. 56 (Spain), p. 57 (France), p. 201 (Italy).
smaller, ranging in from 5.6–7.2 m2 while the southern one in the
. The walls of all the installations
are very thin and poorly built, evidently not intended to carry any
roof except for some light weight organic covering. The eastern
three are connected to small collecting basins approachable from
the sunken pathway while the western three drain out through
narrow channels. These also lead to the pathway where probably
portable jars or pithoi would have been placed to receive the liquid.
The question is what was the purpose of these unusual installations.
We suggest several possibilities:
a] The eastern group was excavated first and at that stage we
suggested that these were auxiliary floors attached to the SW
wine‑press similar to those of the NE wine‑press on which the
grapes were left standing for some days before being trodden
on the main floor. The small collecting basins would have been to
collect the first must that flowed from the grapes without treading.
However, there was apparently no gap in the wall between the
SW wine‑press and the eastern group of small floors, making the
transferring of grapes to the SW treading floor a very difficult task.
After the second western group of floors was uncovered it became
much more probable that all six floors were connected and that
the eastern group was not part of the SW press.
b] Wine presses in which the must is collected in large open
collecting vats, like those of the three large wine presses at Hippos,
are typical of regions where it does not rain in the summer months,
such as the Southern Levant, Egypt and North Africa. In regions
such as Greece, France and Italy, where there are considerable
quantities of rain during the vintage season, a different technical
tradition developed.29 From archaeological excavations and from
depictions on Greek vases and on mosaic pavements we learn that
the common method in these regions was to allow the must to
flow directly into ceramic vessels.30
Fig. 5.24 A staircase leading to the SE vat and a sieving
intermediate vat built to its eastern wall.
Fig. 5.25 The northern auxiliary mosaic floor of the six SW
Fig. 5.26 The northwestern six SW installations.
Fig. 5.27 The Northwest Church, a twin tomb that was reused as
a wine cellar.
The Hippos Winery Complex
The western group of the small installations could clearly have
been used to make wine in this manner and we have considerable
evidence of techniques being brought to the region from other
areas, particularly by monks.31 However, the small collecting basins
in the eastern group of installations were not suitable for wine
production, and if we presume that all six installations served the
same purpose another explanations must be sought.
c] The most probable use to which the six small floors were put was
ways. Columella for example (Rei Rusticae XII.39.1), quoting Mago
the Punic agronomist, stipulates that the grapes should be placed
on reeds, fixed on stakes four feet apart and yoked together with
poles. But usually they were probably laid on the ground or on leaves
to dry in the sun. At Hippos, in the eastern floors, the little juice that
flowed from the grapes while they were drying would have been
collected in the small collecting basins and in the western floors
it would have flowed directly into ceramic vessels.32 A possible
explanation for the fact that the three eastern installations had
31 Frankel 1999, p. 118–119, 169.
32 See discussion above about first must in the section dealing with the Large Wine Presses.
33 Mazor 1981, no. 9, p. 53, 57, 58.
collecting basins while the western ones did not is that there would
not have been room in the intermediate passageway for two groups
of ceramic collecting vessels so that the juice that flowed into the
basins of the eastern group was probably ladled into the movable
vessels of the western group (Fig. 5.37).
Since the Hippos installations are apparently unique, the question
arises as to where raisins would have usually been produced. The
circular installation from Ovdat in the Negev also lacked collecting
vats, and Kloner suggested that it was for drying fruit.33 This
however is another unique installation, and the apparent lack of
other installations for producing raisins is probably to be explained
by the fact that grapes could be dried to produce raisins on the
treading floor of any wine‑press and could even have been dried
on auxiliary floors of complex wine presses while the other parts
of the press were being used to produce wine. In the Tosefta
המדא לש חיטשמ and Urman has shown that חיטשמ is the term used
in the Hebrew of the Mishna and the Tosefta for auxiliary floors.
Fig. 5.28 A rectangular mosaic hall at the northern winery on the
Northwest Church.
Fig. 5.29 The NE screw mortice. Fig. 5.30 The NE screw mortice, a plan and sections.
Rafael Frankel and Michael Eisenberg
He also reported that the term חטשמ is used by the Druze in the
(wine syrup), clearly a survival of the ancient term.34
The first stage of the NWC is dated from the second half of the
5th century to the early 6th century CE. However, it is difficult to
determine when exactly the winery was added. The body sherds
found in the plaster of the vats belong to cooking pots and mainly
Period. Judging by the excavation reports, stratigraphical probes
and the architectural relationships, it seems probable that the
winery was built during the Early Islamic Period but we cannot
overrule the possibility that it may have already been added during
late Byzantine Period. The winery complex of Hippos is part of the
last phase of occupation of the site and is connected to the final
34 Urman 1974.
35 Geyer,“PollenAnalysisoftheWineryComplexAdjacenttotheNorth-WestChurch”,Hippos 2009,p.93–103;seealsointhisvolume,“PollenAnalysis”.
36 MłynarczykandBurdajewicz,“TheNorthwestChurchComplex”,Hippos Summary Report I, p. 214, fig. 291.
stage of the Northwest Church. The winery complex was almost
certainly in use until the final destruction of the city in 749 CE.
Pollen Analysis
18 pollen samples have been extracted by P. Geyer at 2009 from
the plasters of the installations of the southern winery complex.
The published results confirm the use of the winery complex for the
wine industry being the Vitis species (grape) compromise the highest
percentage among of the taken samples.35 The highest values of
Vitis were extracted from the plaster spouts and basins of the six
western installations. Surprisingly, a relatively high percentage of
Cerealia pollen (9.5%‑15.5%) was extracted from the pollen samples
of the western vat (F1107). It may well be that in‑between harvest
seasons the western vat was used as a granary. There is evidence
that the NWC atrium was used as threshing floor during the final
Fig. 5.31 The SE screw mortice.
Fig. 5.32 The SE screw mortice, a plan and sections.
Fig. 5.33 The SW screw mortice.
Fig. 5.34 The SW screw mortice, a plan and sections.
The Hippos Winery Complex
Economic, Historical and Cultural
Aspects of the Hippos Wine Presses
The fact that there were three wine presses in the NWC complex
made it possible to work continuously without interruption. While
grapes were being brought to one press and trodden there, the
must of a previous batch would be fermenting in the collecting
vat of one of the other presses and the fermented must of yet
an earlier batch would be in the process of being transferred to
jars in the third. In spite of the great variations in all quantitative
estimations, we will attempt to assess the quantitative aspects of
the Hippos wine presses.
Presuming that the duration of the vintage season was fifty days,
that a fresh batch of grapes was processed each ten days, and that
the three collecting vats held 15.7 m3 of must, the total amount
of must would have been 15.7x5=78.5 m3 (78,500 litres). One
kg. of grapes produces 0.68 litres of must, therefore one liter of
must was produced from 1.47 kgs. of grapes, and 78,500 liters x
1.47 will amount to 113,395 kgs. of grapes processed. Since each
vineyard dunam produces an average of 1277 kg. of grapes, then
113,395 kgs. divided by 1277 equals 89 dunams, which would be the
area of the vineyards in dunams (10 dunams equal approximately
one hectare and 4 dunams equal approximately one acre). These
vineyards were almost certainly located in the valleys at the foot
of Mt. Sussita.37 The wine presses and the oil press at Hippos
are all built around and clearly connected with the North‑West
37 See Khalil and Al‑Samari 2000, p. 48 for the sources of the parameters on which these calculations were based.
38 Hadjisavvas 1992, p. 82–84. See also Stager and Wolff 1981.
39 Sharon 2006, p. 43–44.
40 See for example, Ayalon 1997.
Church. The association of wine and oil presses with churches is
very common and as Hadjisavvas has shown, basing his argument
mainly on evidence from Cyprus, the connection of oil and wine
production to temples, sanctuaries and churches is part of a very
old tradition.38 The reasons for this association are presumably a
combination of ritual and economics. The use of wine and oil in
religious rites and ceremonies created a demand for sanctified
products which enhanced the economic power that the religious
institutions already had.
It is difficult to determine when exactly the wine presses at Hippos
were built, but they were clearly in use from the Early Islamic Period
until the city was destroyed in the earthquake of 749 CE. Sharon
but this could be true only for a small part of the city as the pottery
and numismatic evidence from recent excavations have clearly
shown that the sudden destruction and abandonment of the site
was connected to the 749 earthquake.39
It is generally thought that after the Muslim conquest the production
of wine declined sharply mainly because of the Muslim prohibition of
drinking wine.40 The fact that the wine presses at Hippos continued
in use until the middle of the 8th century could be explained by the
fact that they were associated with a church and would therefore
not be affected by the Muslim prohibition. However, an alcoholic
was apparently produced at Hippos (Hippos‑Sussita in Arabic was
Fig. 5.35 A suggested reconstruction of a single fixed screw
winepress found in all three wineries at Hippos‑Sussita. A press
operation above a round mortice using a wound rope.
Fig. 5.36 Ground‑penetrating radar results at the SE treading
floor. Small reflection hyperbola caused by a pipe for grape juice
to flow into a vat.
Rafael Frankel and Michael Eisenberg
Fig. 5.37 A suggested reconstruction for the operation of the northern winery of the Northwest Church Complex.
The Hippos Winery Complex
Rafael Frankel and Michael Eisenberg
In addition, it must be pointed out that several of the
wine presses in the region of Jebel al‑’Arab to the east of Hippos
were in use long after the Arab conquest, some were actually
built after the conquest, and none of these were associated with
churches (see Walker 2006:81 for a concise list). A particularly
impressive example is Si’ 8, dated to the end of the Umayyad
Period.42 Wine is frequently mentioned in Arabic literature, and
much discussion has been devoted to the significance of these
41 Sharon 2006, p. 43.
42 Dentzar‑Feydy et al. 2003, p. 121.
43 See for example, Sadan 1973; Heine 1982.
44 See also the discussion in Dentzer‑Feydy et al. 2003, p. 170–171.
references and to the degree to which wine was consumed in
the Muslim world in spite of the prohibition.43 These discussions
were based primarily on written sources, but the archaeological
evidence provides additional proof for wine consumption. Today
it is clear that both the production and the consumption of wine,
particularly by the upper classes, was more common in the Muslim
world than is usually appreciated. This clearly has implications as
regards the significance of the Hippos wine presses.44
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Full-text available
The purpose of this review is to provide a general description of ancient winemaking techniques and wine styles that were most lauded in antiquity, in support of their revival and dissemination today. From the first fully excavated winery, dating from the late fifth to the early fourth millennium BC, the gentle crushing of grapes by foot and the probable absence of maceration indicate that most wines were made with the aim of reducing astringency. The oxidative nature of winemaking would have resulted in rapid browning, so that wines made from red grapes would have had a similar color to those made from white grapes after being aged in clay vats for several years. The difficulty in preventing the wine surface contact with the air would have resulted in biological ageing under the yeast pellicle being a common occurrence. This phenomenon was not considered a flaw, but a characteristic feature of highly prized wines. Dried grapes were used to make sweet wines, which were also highly prized, therefore justifying the construction of dedicated facilities. The addition of boiled juices, salt, resins, mixtures of herbs, spices, fruit juices, flowers, or honey to the wines would have increased their taste pleasantness while improving their preservability and medicinal properties. Indeed, today’s preference for flavored wines with a soft mouthfeel seems to have been representative of the ancient elite consumers. Overall, the technical interpretation of winemaking described in this review will provide solid historical support for the current rebirth of ancient production methods, particularly those using pottery vessels.
Full-text available
A summary of the excavations conducted at Antiochaia Hippos between the years 2012-2015 (Heb.). The main focus is on the necropoleis, city plan, Roman basilica, Roman bastion, the southern bathhouse, the saddle ridge excavations and the bronze mask of Pan.
Two wine presses were discovered at Khirbet Yajuz, each consisting of the following: storage and treading basins, treading floor with remnants of mechanical pressing systems, and vats for sedimentation and collecting. Considering the architectural elements, the technological evidence of pressing, the parallel examples from various sites in the region, and the date of pottery from both presses, three stages of use can be suggested. (1) The construction of the southern press dated to the second century A. D. or slightly later; (2) at a later date the northern press was built while the southern press continued in use, and both presses lasted into the Byzantine period; (3) the southern press and part of the northern press were abandoned during the Umayyad period. Both presses were no longer in use by the end of the Umayyad period. The elaborate methods of pressing and the large size of the presses indicate that large vineyards were cultivated in the surrounding area in order to support the intensive production of wine. In addition, wine as an agricultural product indicates the economic prosperity of Yajuz, especially during the sixth and seventh centuries A. D.
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Oil and Wine Presses in Israel from the Hellenistic, Romana and Byzantine Periods
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Olive Oil and Wine Production in Eastern Mediterranean during Antiquity
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Dray, Y. 2015 "The Wine Making Process in the Improved Byzantine Wine Press", in Diler, A., Şenol, K. and Aydinoğlu, U. (eds.), Olive Oil and Wine Production in Eastern Mediterranean during Antiquity, International Symposium Proceedings 2011 Turkey, Izmir, p. 191-200.