Archaeologists unearth 1,500-year-old winery that produced 2m litres a year

Archaeologists have unearthed a huge ancient winemaking complex that is thought to date back 1,500 years.

The complex, discovered in the central town of Yavne, Israel, includes warehouses, five wine presses, kilns for producing clay storage vessels and tens of thousands of fragments and jars.

The discovery has revealed that Yavne dominated the wine-making industry during the Byzantine period, according to Israel's Antiquities Authority.

Researchers have estimated the facility could have produced over two million litres of wine a year, LADbible reports.

The team explained: "A calculation of the production capacity of these winepresses shows that approximately two million litres of wine were marketed every year, while we should remember that the whole process was conducted manually."

In the Byzantine period, around 520 CE, wine drinking was common for adults and children due to the poor quality of water.

Grapes would be crushed by barefooted people in a bid to extract the liquid at the facility, according to reports.

This would then go into different compartments around the warehouses to ferment the wine, eventually going into two octagonal shapes vats which were used to collect the vino.

One of the directors of the excavation, Jon Seligman, said the facility would have created Gaza wine and exported it across the region, the Daily Mail reported.

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The researchers now believe that this uncovered facility would have been the main production site for the Gaza label.

Israel's Antiquities Authority said the facility was uncovered over the past two years during a series of excavations to further develop Yavne.

Mr Seligman said: "So far, other sites where wine was produced are known from the southern coastal plain.

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"But now, we seem to have found the main production centre of this prestigious wine.

"From here, commercial quantities were transported to the ports, and then throughout the Mediterranean basin."

The city, situated in the central district of Israel, is around 15 miles from Tel Aviv and only a few miles east of the Mediterranean Sea.

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