Right in the heart of a residential neighborhood in Carmiel, an archeological site unearths an ancient structure, mosaic floor, and wine and olive press. Is this the place from which wine commercially spread? Photograph: The descent into the ancient wine press. Photograph: Dubi Zakai
In the heart of a Carmiel residential neighborhood excavations unearthed the ancient remnants of a lavish structure, mosaic floor and wine press. Is this the place from which wine commercially spread? Dubi Zakai | 29 January 2012
Carmiel’s leaders clearly weigh considerations before they act. That’s how this picturesque city, nestled at the entrance to the Beit Hakerem Valley, is well planned and clean, its housing integrated with parks and the landscape, the western and eastern slopes dotted by comfortable homes. The industrial area was also built with forethought. Situations that could easily have become municipal headaches (such as quarries and ancient sites) have instead become attractions for locals and visitors. In the city’s south, alongside a new neighborhood built in memory of the late Yitzhak Rabin, an important archeological site was found. Dating from the Byzantine era, it is now surrounded by a beautiful park, playgrounds, paths for strolling or health walking, and seating areas.
The region’s name, Beit Hakerem Valley, testifies to the existence of olive groves and vineyards (“kerem” specifically refers to olives and grapes). Park Rabin, as the area has been named, indeed contains remnants of olive trees, and one massive ancient olive tree with a thickly twisted, gnarled trunk standing beside one of the paths.
Khirbet Kab is at the park’s center. Research indicates it was built as early as the 3rd century CE. An important finding is the ancient wine press. It’s a square structure, inset about 1.5 meters (5 feet) into the ground, it has carved stone descending into a plastered basin. The size of this ancient press indicates the volume of wine production in the region as early as about 200 CE, and also shows that the Beit Hakerem Valley was a center of wine commerce. Excavations revealed the screw anchors in the base of the collection trough which measures some 8 meters in width (26 feet).
Remnants of a Byzantine church were also found. It boasted a mosaic floor, sections of which were found intact. In fact, the region’s Wine Path begins here. Enjoy the press and the mosaic floor and if you`re inclined, continue the wine journey from this point on. The story of the ancient press and the wine industry comes alive once again when you tour the region, taste the wines, and learn about ancient and modern winemaking methods. Tour the modern vineyards and wineries and enjoy the old-new art of vinology.
End your tour of discovery by tasting various wines led by guides well versed in the region and its history. Special wine and food tours for buffs by advance booking on 054-654-9191. Ask for price schedule. How to get there: Road 85, enter west of Ramat Rabin. Signs direct you to the location.