Workers huddle over parts of an ancient winery recently discovered in Jerusalem. Workers huddle over parts of an ancient winery recently discovered in Jerusalem. Workers huddle over parts of an ancient winery recently discovered in Jerusalem. (Photo: MENAHEM KAHANA/AFP/Getty Images)

1,600-year-old Roman winery discovered

Archaeologists also found evidence of ancient bath houses on the site.

In ancient cities, something as ordinary as building a new apartment complex can lead to the extraordinary.

That was the case for developers in Israel, who hired a team of archaeologists to excavate a building site in Jerusalem. What they found was a large and impressive winery dating back 1,600 years.

Archaeologists believe a winery discovered in Jerusalem dates back 1,600 years.Archaeologists believe a winery discovered in Jerusalem dates back 1,600 years. (Photo: MENAHEM KAHANA/AFP/Getty Images)

Features of the winery include a pressing surface paved with a white mosaic. In the center was a pit in which a press screw was anchored that aided in extracting the maximum amount of juice from the grapes. Eight cells were installed around the pressing surface. These were used for storing the grapes, and possibly also for blending the juice with other ingredients, thereby producing different flavors of wine.

A worker with the Israeli Antiquities Authority works at the site where a large roman winery was found in Jerusalem.A worker at the Jerusalem site where a large winery was found inspects one of the artifacts. (Photo: MENAHEM KAHANA/AFP/Getty Images)

The archaeologists believe that this winery served the residents of a large manor house whose inhabitants made their living through viticulture and wine production.

This wasn't the only intriguing discovery on the site, however. Archaeologists also found evidence of Roman bath houses having existed there.

Evidence included terra cotta pipes used to heat the bathhouse and several clay bricks, some of which were stamped with the name of the Tenth Roman Legion, who ruled the area for several hundred years at the beginning of the first millenium.

A worker inspects parts of a roman bath house discovered in Jerusalem.A worker inspects parts of a Roman bath house discovered in Jerusalem. (Photo: MENAHEM KAHANA/AFP/Getty Images)

Alex Wiegmann, an archaeologist and director of the excavation project, summed up the chance discoveries: "Once again, Jerusalem demonstrates that wherever one turns over a stone, ancient artifacts will be found related to the city’s glorious past."

A worker inspects a pipe found at a roman bath house in Jerusalem.A worker inspects a pipe found at a Roman bath house in Jerusalem. (Photo: MENAHEM KAHANA/AFP/Getty Images)

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