Tel Miqne/Ekron Excavation Project, Drawing: E. Cohen

An olive-oil press from Tel Miqne/Ekron. This reconstruction of the room in which the press was, found shows how the press probably worked. Olives were first crashed in the large basin, center. The pulp was washed with water, and some oil was skimmed off the surface of the water. This was the virgin oil, “the finest oils” as Amos calls it, used to anoint the celebrants of the marzeah.

In the second step of the oil-rendering process, the pulp was placed in woven baskets that were stacked on smaller vats, an both sides of the large basin, and topped with a stone. Pressure applied by a long wooden beam, weighted down by stones an one end, squeezed the remaining oil out of the pulp. This arrangement is illustrated only on the right side of the central vat, but an identical installation existed of the left side, where this reconstruction shows just a cutaway view of the left vat. At lower left the reconstruction shows some of the hundreds of vessels found in the room. Destroyed by the Babylonians in 603 B.C., Ekron was then for the most part abandoned, preserving its buried artifacts in place for discovery by 20th-century archaeologists.