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An Olive Oil Press in Jerusalem

A Roman Olive Press

Olive oil was a very important part of the diet in Israel during ancient times. Olives were eaten, but most of the olives were pressed to get the oil. In addition to using the oil for cooking, it was burned for light. To make olive oil, olives were squeezed with a press. The oil usually flowed from openings below the press. The photograph above shows an olive press from a Roman guard house near the Damascus Gate in Jerusalem. The man demonstrating the turning of the press is Ezra, a very good tour guide. The presses were often turned by oxen or other domesticated animals.

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