Calvary (Golgotha) Wine Press

By the Editors of the Madain Project

Discovered in 1924 in the Garden Tomb complex, the ancient (probably Roman era) wine press indicates that the site was indeed a (fruit) garden and may very well have been owned by a wealthy person, adding to the speculation of the site being owned by Joseph of Arimathea. It is located south of the tomb's entrance.


The upper basin would have been used to stomp the grapes with a layer of straw underneath to protect the seeds and the juice would have been collected in the lower basin. The small winepress is difficult to date and it is unclear whether the press was present during the herodian period or was constructed later but a winepress is in any case no evidence of a garden since the biblical term garden does not refer to an area where grapes are grown.

Biblical Account


The term in the new testament used to describe a grape producing plot is "vineyard" Greek amteloni (matthew 21:28). The term "garden" (Greek kepos) is used to describe an orchard of fruit-producing trees, very often olive trees (John 18:1) where the term kepos refers to the olive garden near Gethsemane, and John 19:41, where kepos denotes the garden in which the tomb was located. Had John meant that the area where Jesus was buried was a grape producing plot, he would probably have called it a vineyard (amteloni), thus the supposition that a winepress might have existed at the site.


Since John called the plot a garden, it is not likely that a winepress or grapevines were present; grapes were not planted in tree gardens because shade from the trees would not allow proper growth of the vines or ripening of the fruit. Additionally the term for the caretaker of a vineyard is "husbandman" (Greek georgos) in John 15:1, whereas the term employed in John 20:15 is "gardener" greek kepouros this language also suggests that the plot in which jesus tomb was found was not a vineyard the wine press found near the garden tomb may suggest that a vineyard was once there but proves nothing concerning a garden there in new testament times


See Also


Let's bring some history to your inbox

Signup for our monthly newsletter / online magazine.
No spam, we promise.

Privacy Policy

We need your help!

We are a small non-profit organization of volunteers, academics, history enthusiasts and IT professionals publishing the world's largest Abrahamic history encyclopedia. We only need £16,095/- to stay live in the year 2024 CE. We, the volunteers, contribute most of the funding ourselves and some comes from running the ads.

Maybe Later