Ancient wine press with Talmudic period mosaic floor discovered in Galilee

This is the only mosaic from the time of the Talmud that has been found in the ancient Jewish village of Korazim.

March 20, 2019 05:16
2 minute read.
Winepress at Kurazim (Dekel Segev/Nature and Parks Authority)

Winepress at Kurazim (Dekel Segev/Nature and Parks Authority). (photo credit: DEKEL SEGEV/NATURE AND PARKS AUTHORITY)


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A wine press with a mosaic floor from the time of the Talmud (200-500 CE) was discovered in excavations at the Korazim National Park.
The Ariel University and Israel Nature and Parks Authority preservation team working on the site accidentally exposed a corner of the wine press and immediately reported it to the head of the site, Dekel Segev.

“A very small section of the wine press was exposed many years ago but was covered and not revealed, partly due for conservation reasons,” Segev said.

From the moment the corner of the mosaic was found, the archaeologists were determined to finish the excavation, as this is the only Talmudic-period mosaic that has ever been found in the ancient Jewish settlement of Korazim.

“The wine press provides us with an additional dimension to the uniqueness and completeness of the village, including all its characteristics, which included dwellings, agricultural industries, a ritual bath and, of course, the magnificent synagogue,” Segev said.

The wine press was found within the village, while most other wine presses are discovered outside of villages, according to Ahiyah Cohen-Tavor, the archaeologist leading the excavation at Korazim. According to Segev, the wine press is about 16 sq.m.

The farmers invested in decorating the wine press floor with a mosaic pattern of squares and diamond shapes.

Korazim houses impressive remains of a Jewish village from the time of the Talmud, including a magnificent synagogue. Korazim is mentioned in the New Testament and the Babylonian Talmud as a place where high-quality grain was produced, such as the wheat brought to the Temple.

The synagogue at Korazim is in the Galilean style, made from basalt stone. The inside of the synagogue features seashell decorations, a copy of the art of the Holy Ark and a basalt throne, known as the Seat of Moses, with a dedication written on it to the donor of the chair.

During the excavations by the Archaeological Tourism Company from the university and the authority, with the assistance of the Finance Ministry, a special effort has been made to locate the synagogue where Jesus spoke, from the time of the Second Temple.

For more details on how to take part in the excavations open for tourists, contact the Korazim National Park or search “Digging through Time” (“חופרים בזמן”) on the Israel Nature and Parks Authority’s website

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