Mike Aquilina

Pressing for Details

Thursday August 07th 2008, 9:17 am

A few weeks ago we looked at the excavation of a Byzantine wine press near or at an ancient Egyptian monastery. Today let’s look at a Byzantine olive press just unearthed in Israel, also quite probably associated with a monastery. Among the artifacts found are two fragments of a marble chancel screen and what seems to be a plate bearing an image of the Madonna and Child.
ahihudplateiaasmall.jpg
Olives for anointing … the fruit of the vine … the mother with her suckling infant … these images abound in my new book, Signs and Mysteries: Revealing Ancient Christian Symbols, which is lavishly illustrated by Lea Marie Ravotti. No less an authority than Adrian Murdoch has said that Signs and Mysteries is “an essential book to keep to hand when visiting early Christian sites” — even if you’re just visiting them as archeological sites on the Web!

UPDATE: The Jerusalem Post reports on the dig.