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OLIVE PRESS. Olive oil, the preferred oil in Late Antique Palestine, was used for cooking, fuel, lighting, and cleaning the body. To make olive oil in ancient Palestine, olives were placed in a basin and repeatedly rolled over by a circular stone until the oil could be squeezed out, such as with the above olive press from Maresha that dates to the Hellenistic period (third–second centuries B.C.E.). To extract more oil, the pulp was then gathered in baskets and placed on an olive press consisting of a top stone and bottom stone. The immense pressure of being sandwiched between the two stones coaxed additional oil out of the olive pulp.