Frankish Viticulture, Wine Presses, and wine production in the Levant: New Evidence from Castellum Regis (Miʿilyā)

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


As the Christian population increased in the Frankish Kingdom following 1100, there was also a much-increased demand for wine. This led to a revolution in agriculture and industry related to wine production. The high number of texts mentioning vineyards is indicative of these activities. To date only 26 wine-presses identified as belonging to the Frankish period have been discovered, but they provide considerable information about the building technology, and the nature of wine production. The new discovery in Miʿilyā provides critical information about this industry; it points to a king of monopoly on wine production during the Frankish period, but it also provided great deal of information about the production technology. The fermentation in the local Levantine technology took place under the sun, with low proportion of CO2, in a non-controlled environment, while the Franks brought with them a different technology, in which the fermentation took place inside buildings, in a quite controlled environment with high levels of CO2. In addition, it seems likely that in Miʿilyā’s factory, the fermentation place and storage were in an underground large room. This style, which is suitable to rainy regions, seems to have been introduced to the Levant during the Frankish period.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-31
Number of pages31
JournalPalestine Exploration Quarterly
StatePublished - 2020

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Dr Rabei G. Khamisy received his PhD from the University of Haifa, Department of Archaeology in 2012 (Summa cum Laude). After two years as a fellow researcher (post-doctorate) at the University of Cardiff, he is now a lecturer at the department of archaeology in Haifa, and a member of the Zinman Institute of archaeology. His current field work includes excavations in the Frankish sites Montfort castle (funded by the ISF), Castellum Regis and Khirbat al-Manhata, as well as excavations in the Templar fort at Dor and surveys in Mount Carmel. His researches deal with several fields: Frankish period archaeology and history, and Ayyubid/Mamluk documentation. In addition, he is currently publishing articles dealing with late Ottoman period history and anthropology.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2020, © Palestine Exploration Fund 2020.


  • Acre
  • Crusader
  • Levan
  • Wine
  • archaeology Franks
  • wine-press

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Archaeology
  • History
  • Visual Arts and Performing Arts
  • Religious studies
  • Archaeology


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