Wednesday, August 14, 2019

Israeli Village Excavates Itself, Finds Biggest Winery in the Crusader World

Complete article

On a Galilean mountaintop, in about 1150, King Baldwin III stopped grousing at his mother, Queen Melisende of Jerusalem, and built a castle in the village of Mi’ilya, from which he sought to consolidate his shrunken share of the Frankish Crusader kingdom in the Holy Land. Almost 900 years later, residents of this village have come together in a unique venture spearheaded by a local archaeologist, to fix and restore the dangerously crumbling castle. In parallel, next door to the castle, a curious gas-station owner named Salma Assaf privately funded an excavation beneath her house – leading to the discovery of what may have been the biggest winery in the Crusader world.
Unique in the annals of medieval winemaking, this winery had not one treading floor where the grapes were crushed, but two parallel ones, which apparently drain into a huge pit carved out of bedrock back in the Roman period.

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