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

This reconstruction (compare with photo of oil press) of the room in which the oil press was found shows how these presses probably worked. Olives were first crushed with stone rollers in the large, shallow basin, center. The pulp was washed with water and the finest oil was skimmed off the water’s surface. To obtain additional oil, the pulp was placed in woven baskets that were stacked on smaller vats, on both sides of the large basin, and topped with a stone. Pressure applied by a long wooden beam, anchored in the wall and weighted down with stones on one end, squeezed the remaining oil out of the pulp, through the loosely woven baskets and into the vats below. This arrangement is illustrated only on the right side of the central basin, but an identical installation existed on the left side, where this reconstruction shows just a cutaway view of the left vat.