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13 January 2015
8,000 year old remains of olive oil found in Israel

Today we take olive oil for granted, being widely used and available in both supermarkets and local shops, but have you ever stopped to think how long we may have been using it and who first came up with the idea of producing it? Now recent research and excavation in Lower Galilee (Israel) may push its origins back over 8,000 years.
     A team from the Israeli Antiquities Authority, under the guidance of Dr Ianir Milveski and Nimrod Getzov, have been working the site at Ein Tzipori since 2011. They analysed fragments of pottery, not only for radiocarbon dating but also for the organic material which had been absorbed into the pottery. 2 of the 20 pieces examined contained olive oil and dated back to the Early Chalcolithic period.
     A statement by the Antiquities Authority said "Together with the Kfar Samir [Haifa] discovery, this is the earliest evidence of olive oil production in the country, and possibly the entire Mediterranean basin." The statement went on to say "Although it is impossible to say for sure, this might be an olive species that was domesticated and joined grain and legumes - the other kind of field crops that we know were grown then".

Edited from Jerusalem Post (17 December 2014)

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