Hirbat al-Hovlata is first mentioned in a description recorded by a French traveler named Victor Giren, who visited the region in 1864. At the site are the ancient ruins of residential structures, industrial devices, cisterns and burial caves. All of these elements help us revisit the everyday lives of the ancient residents of Neve Tzuf and their means of livelihood. Since Hovlata Hill’s structure is composed of large limestone layers, it was not suitable for agricultural cultivation. The rocky hill was instead used as a site for quarrying stones for construction; it was also an agro-industrial center and an ideal burial site. In general, the site is dated to the Roman-Byzantine period, although there are also signs of activity from other periods. In addition, the remnants of natural, rich flora can be seen at the site, including Mediterranean vegetation, lithophytes and aromatic herbs.

A unique industrial device was found at the site that is composed of 16 circles. Next to each circle is a small pit that was used to collect liquid. Near these circles, a double winepress was found. One explanation that researchers propose is that this device was used for producing sweet wine – perhaps the Helioston wine described by the Jewish sages, for which this ancient site is named.

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