New Integrated Knowledge based approachs to the protection of cultural heritage from Earthquake-induced Risk

Bet Shemesh
Machsia, Khirbet el-Suyyagh
Relocation of an olive oil press
OrdererDamibo International Ltd.
DurationApril-October 2005
Implemented by: Lilia Kirshenbaum
Tsagai Asma'in
Avi Perets

In salvage excavations that were conducted prior to the construction of a new neighborhood in Machsia, a monastery complex dating to the Byzantine period (6th-7th centuries CE) was exposed that also comprises the remains of a church, field tower, dwellings and agricultural installations. The monastery is part of the extensive Byzantine settlement in the Shephelah.
The planned approach road to the neighborhood extends on top of the remains of an olive press from the Roman and Byzantine periods that was part of the agrarian industry in the complex. The olive press includes an installation for crushing olives and two oil press systems operated by means of a beam and screw.
The aim of the project was to relocate the remains of the olive press to an open public area in the neighborhood that was being built. The conditions of the area slated for the relocation of the site do not resemble those of the original site and therefore the olive press was positioned in accordance with the given topography, without adhering to its original orientation.
The implementation of relocating the structure included:
  • An accurate survey of the site.
  • Marking each of the installationís stones.
  • Dismantling the installation and transporting it to the alternative site.
  • Marking the plan of the olive press in the area slated for its relocation.
  • The reconstruction of the olive press and setting the stone weights in place.
  • Pointing up the joints and sealing the tops of walls and installation of a platform.
  • Adding a number of stones to the reconstruction for the purpose of illustration.
  • The posting of signage.
The relocating of the olive press from an area slated for destruction to an open public area inside the residential quarter that was being built made it possible to exhibit the finds to the public-at-large.
The excavations at the site were conducted on behalf of the Tel Aviv University. The work was implemented by the Conservation Department of the Antiquities Authority, in coordination with the district archaeologist of Judah.

To view the figures, click on the figure caption
The finds at the site

The area slated for the relocation of the olive press

The olive press in its new location

Stone conservation

site built by tetitu