//

Olive Oil Plant


Mentioned in the Bible as one of the seven species, olive trees have been characteristic of Israeli landscape since ancient times. The olive press complex provides a rich selection of equipment used over thousands of years to produce the olive oil that has long been a mainstay of local agricultural activity.

An olive press from the Iron Age (800-700 Bc), from Tel Batash in the Judean foothills, is located in the southern sector of the complex. It contains a basin and a roller to mash the olives and two beam-and-weights presses (the beam has been reconstructed in one of them).

 

In the northern section of the reconstructed oil press building, there is a reconstructed a set of wooden installations from a traditional Arab olive press, similar to olive presses used since Talmudic times (as of the 4th century CE). It contains a stone mill for crushing the olives and a wooden beam-and-screw press for squeezing the oil. The beam - from the village of Iksal, near Nazareth in the Lower Galilee - is one of the biggest known in Israel. Next to it a direct-pressure wooden screw press, also from the Galilee.

 

An entire range of relatively modern iron equipment, of the type used in Israel as of the mid-19th century, can be viewed in the building's southern section: a double stone mill for crushing the olives and an iron direct-pressure screw press for squeezing out the oil, together with a pulley block for improving the squeezing process.

A large collection of other related items are displayed in the oil press building and in the surrounding courtyard, including millstones, stone weights, stone containers, and giant earthenware jars for storing oil.