Byzantine-Era Wine Presses Discovered in Israel with Depictions of Greek Gods Dionysus and Heracles

Ancient Byzantine-era winepress discovered in Zippori National Park. (Zvika Tzuk/National Parks Authority)

Excavations in Zippori National Park, Israel, have revealed Ancient Byzantine-era wine presses, one of which has a mosaic depiction what appears to be a wine-drinking contest between the Greek gods, Dionysus and Heracles.

The site of the Zippori National Park has many well-preserved mosaics, many of which are found in the Dionysus House. They depict the life of Dionysus, the god of fertility and of wine with scenes of celebration with music, drinking and dancing.

Wine drinking contest between Dionysus and Heracles, Zippori National Park

The area of Zippori was home to many diverse cultures in the 4th-7th centuries BC, including a mixed pagan, Christian and Jewish community. For this reason archaeologists do not anticipate learning what specific society was responsible for building the wine presses.

Ancient Byzantine-era winepress discovered in Zippori National Park. (Zvika Tzuk/National Parks Authority)

The two wine presses were discovered inside a large five-arched water cistern and are located about 200 meters outside of the town.

Ancient Byzantine-era winepress discovered in Zippori National Park. (Zvika Tzuk/National Parks Authority)

The wine presses are considered to be unique finds since till date they are the only ones from antiquity discovered that were built inside of a covered water reservoir.

National Parks Authority archaeologist Dr. Zvika Tzuk explained, “This wine press was found in the largest of two arched-reservoirs in the Zippori National Park, which are part of the impressive water system at the site, including long aqueducts that provided water to the ancient city of Zippori.”, The Times of Israel reports.