The site was discovered during excavations near Route 65 in the Galilee. The location also housed a synagogue decorated with a mosaic floor and was inhabited during the Bronze Age, some 4,000 years ago.
"As we expanded the excavation with the students, we found more and more installations, and it would appear that these are not for private use, but rather a real industrial zone, from the Middle Bronze Age (1,800 BCE) or from the Roman-Byzantine period (5th-2nd centuries CE)," said Yoav Zur, the IAA director of the excavation.
According to Zur, "There is no doubt that these installations were used to process agricultural products from the vicinity, but it is still unclear what these were. These facilities may have been used for wine production or mustard oil. Talmudic sources attest to the production of oil from the mustard plant that grows in the area and was a source of income for the residents of the Jewish village of Hukok."
During the Roman and Byzantine periods (1st-7th centuries CE) there was a Jewish village in the area complete with a Byzantine-style synagogue, decorated with unique mosaic floors depicting biblical scenes.
At the foot of Hukok is a spring, whose abundant waters were a major reason for the existence of a settlement at the site over the ages. In the future, Israeli authorities plan to develop the site for the benefit of the general public.