Ancient wine jug factory unearthed in Israel

GEDERA, Israel, July 31 (Reuters) - Relics from a large-scale wine jug factory that dates back around 1,800 years have been uncovered in Israel, complete with baths and game boards possibly meant to allow laborers to relax, archaeologists said on Tuesday.

Finds from the site in Gedera include piles of pottery shards, presumably from flawed and discarded jugs, a network of 20 bathing holes and four ancient game boards.

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Ancient wine jug factory unearthed in Israel
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Ancient wine jug factory unearthed in Israel
An archeological artifact is pictured at the site where a large-scale wine jug factory that dates back to the 3rd century and included recreational facilities has been uncovered in Gedera, according to archeologists, Israel July 31, 2018. REUTERS/Amir Cohen
An archeological artifact is pictured at the site where a large-scale wine jug factory that dates back to the 3rd century and included recreational facilities has been uncovered in Gedera, according to archeologists, Israel July 31, 2018. REUTERS/Amir Cohen
An archeological artifact is pictured at the site where a large-scale wine jug factory that dates back to the 3rd century and included recreational facilities has been uncovered in Gedera, according to archeologists, Israel July 31, 2018. REUTERS/Amir Cohen
An archeological artifact is pictured at the site where a large-scale wine jug factory that dates back to the 3rd century and included recreational facilities has been uncovered in Gedera, according to archeologists, Israel July 31, 2018. REUTERS/Amir Cohen
An archeological artifact is pictured at the site where a large-scale wine jug factory that dates back to the 3rd century and included recreational facilities has been uncovered in Gedera, according to archeologists, Israel July 31, 2018. REUTERS/Amir Cohen
Piles of pottery shards can be seen at the site where a large-scale wine jug factory that dates back to the 3rd century and included recreational facilities has been uncovered in Gedera, according to archeologists, Israel July 31, 2018. REUTERS/Amir Cohen
A general view shows of the site where a large-scale wine jug factory that dates back to the 3rd century and included recreational facilities has been uncovered in Gedera, according to archeologists, Israel July 31, 2018. REUTERS/Amir Cohen
A man works at the site where a large-scale wine jug factory that dates back to the 3rd century and included recreational facilities has been uncovered in Gedera, according to archeologists, Israel July 31, 2018. REUTERS/Amir Cohen
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The factory was active for around 600 years, making vessels for storing wine that were popular export items at the time, the Israel Antiquities Authority said in statement.

"The ongoing manufacturing may point to this having been a family business, handed down from generation to generation," it said, adding that the recreational facilities "served, perhaps, to relieve workers of the demands of their routine labor."

(Writing by Dan Williams Editing by Peter Graff)

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