Archaeologists uncover 1,600-year-old winery in Jerusalem

A winery and the bathhouse, dating back some 1600 years ago, were exposed ahead of the construction of buildings for the ultra-Orthodox Jewish community of Jerusalem, the IAA said on Wednesday.Reuters

An ancient wine press and bathhouse thought to date back to Roman Times have been discovered by archaeologists in Jerusalem, it was announced yesterday.

Ongoing excavations have unearthed a "large and impressive winery dating to the Roman or Byzantine period, some 1,600 years ago", the Israel Antiquities Authority said.

It described the find as "unexpected".

A white mosaic surface was found surrounding the wine press, which is believed to have served the residents of a large manor house. Nearby, the remains of a bathhouse were also discovered. Clay bricks found at the site were stamped with the title of the 10th Roman Legion, one of four that took part in the siege and destruction of Jerusalem in 70 AD, some 37 years after the death of Jesus.

Archaeologist Alex Wiegmann said the finds "help paint a living, vibrant and dynamic picture of Jerusalem as it was in ancient times up until the modern era."

"Once again, Jerusalem demonstrates that wherever one turns over a stone, ancient artefacts will be found related to the city's glorious past," he said.

Last year, archaeologists in the same area discovered evidence of a Jewish settlement from the late Second Temple period, which was around the time of Jesus.