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Archaeologists uncovered a large Byzantine Age compound west of Jerusalem, with a rarely preserved oil press, a wine press and a mosaic, the Israel Antiquities Authority announced Thursday.

“This was very likely a monastery,” excavation director Irene Zilberbod said in a statement.

A spokesperson with the Antiquities Authority said the first clues of the compound were stumbled upon in recent weeks, during construction work on a new residential neighbourhood in the town of Bet Shemesh, some 35 km west of Jerusalem, Xinhua reported.

Excavations later revealed a massive compound surrounded by an outer wall and divided on the inside into industrial and residential areas.

In the industrial area, the archaeologists found an unusually large press that was uniquely preserved and was used to produce olive oil, and a large wine press. The wine press consisted of two treading floors from which the grape could flow to a collecting vat.

“The finds indicate the local residents were engaged in wine and olive oil production for their livelihood,” Zilberbod said.

She added that the impressive size of the agricultural installations shows that these facilities were used for production on an industrial-scale rather than just for domestic use.

Several rooms were exposed in the residential portion of the compound, some of which had a colourful mosaic pavement preserved in them. One of the mosaics was adorned with a cluster of grapes surrounded by flowers set within a geometric frame. Two entire ovens used for baking were also found in the compound.

Zilberbod said that although they found no unequivocal evidence of religious worship — such as a church or an inscription — the compound holds typical features of Byzantine monasteries.

“The impressive construction dating back to the Byzantine period. The magnificent mosaic floors, windows and roof tile artifacts, as well as the agricultural-industrial installations inside the dwelling compound, are all known to us from numerous other contemporary monasteries,” Zilberbod said.

“Thus it is possible to reconstruct a scenario in which monks resided in a monastery that they established, made their living from the agricultural installations and dwelled in the rooms and carried out their religious activities.”

At some point, which the archaeologists dated to the beginning of the Islamic period (7th century A.D.), the compound ceased to function and was subsequently occupied by new residents. They changed the plan of the compound and adapted it for their needs, the archaeologists said.

Original article:
newkerala.com

IMG_0896.JPG,
Israel Antiquities Authority excavation of Byzantine-Era Compound, most likely a monastery, discovered near Beit Shemesh. Photo by Assaf Peretz, courtesy of the Israel Antiquities Authority

I found more information athaaretz.com

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Topic: Ancient Bread Stamp

Bread Stamp

Israeli archaeologists find 1,500-year-old kosher ‘bread stamp’ near Acre – Haaretz Daily Newspaper | Israel News.

Bread Stamp

Original Article:

haaretz.com

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Topic-Baking with Giza Sourdough

It’s been a busy day baking bread using the Giza Sourdough I posted about last week.  I have more pictures-see below. They are still of the culture but If I remembered how to handle the digital camera we have I should post soon a Chipotle Cheddar Sourdough Batter Bread with  diced jalapeno. No it’s not an ancient bread but I use the Giza on regular sourdough breads too because it’s simply the best.

I usually bake this time of the year-so much going on in March. First there is the batter bread i just spoke of  and then  in my laundry I have already  started a new batch of bread. The recipes I most often come from  Classic Sourdoughs. In those recipes because the culture is cold when you start, you have to feed it and proof it  before it can be used to bake. More on that another day as well as some of the recipes but for today the pictures.

Giza Sourdough culture, top view

 
 
 
 

 

Giza another top view-foam on top

 

This is my 6 cup Giza Culture

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 Topic:Wild Yeast Culture-Day 4
 
 First Pictures. Day 4 was actually yesterday. Thanks to my husband I also have pictures.These are of my Giza culture  just prior to it going in the refrigerator. For those of us who do not make sourdough bread every day, refrigeration is a must. The cold keep the yeast dormant. This way they do not exhaust their food supply and die off. You need to keep a good supply of live yeast cells-if you treat them right they will be supplying you with sourdough for many years.
 
  

Giza Sourdough culture1- day 4

The  picture to the left was taken just before I poured the culture into a container and put it in the refridgerator-you can see just how active it is from the bubbles on top. I had already stirred in the layer of foam that was on top.

Giza sourdough culture2-day 4

Giza Sourdough culture 3-day4

Notice how active the culture looks in all three. You want to have as many yeast cells as possible when you put this in the refrigerator. This will be your stock culture, so you need as many yeast cells in it as possible.  

Day 4 started with the culture showing about 1 inch to 1 1/2 inches of foam and underneath looking like the first photo.  

Rather than just feeding the culture, waiting an hour or so and refrigerating it, which I could have done because at this point the culture was ready, I chose instead to go for a couple more of feedings to “bump” it up. I feed at 9am and checked at three, feeding the culture again, The last feeding was about 9pm at which the culture looked as you see from the pictures except the layer of foam I had stirred in.  

Note:  A very active culture can actually exhaust its food supply if you are not careful. This is another reason for the refrigeration unless you bake everyday and who does that? Yes I said this before but it’s worth repeating. 

I will bake this weekend and post pictures next week of the breads 

There is something so magicial about taking about this process of transformation.

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