Garo Nalbandian

Giant olive crusher? As tall as a grown man, this crudely dressed monolith located near a hollowed out basin, not shown in the photo, at Tel-el Farah (North) has become the subject of a scholarly debate. The excavator, Roland de Vaux, claimed that the monolith was a massebah, or standing stone, in an “open-air shrine.” The nearby basin served, said de Vaux, as a receptacle for libations. Other archaeologists, Lawrence Stager and Samuel Wolff, now argue that the monolith was a massive olive pulp crusher, used to force oil from olives that were crushed in the stone basin.