An Ancient Factory Discovered in Israel Produced the Roman Empire’s Favorite Sauce

Dec. 19 2019

In ancient Roman cuisine, garum, a nonalcoholic fermented fish sauce, was a staple of every kitchen and a necessary ingredient of countless recipes. Archaeologists recently discovered a Roman-era factory for the condiment near Ashkelon on the Israeli coast, as Amanda Borschel-Dan writes:

At the 2,000-year-old site, located a mile and a quarter northwest of the city of Ashkelon, [the Israeli archaeologist] Tali Erickson-Gini’s team uncovered several installations that, when taken together, left the archaeologist with little doubt that she was looking at a rare Holy Land garum-production center, or cetaria. Though there are few examples in the eastern Mediterranean, . . . in the Iberian Peninsula, specifically Malaga, there are several installations that mirror what she has uncovered in Ashkelon. . . .

In addition to evidence of fish pools, the team uncovered giant plastered vats, jars used for storing liquid, and what appears to be a large receptacle to hold the strained goopy substance.

While fish pools have been found elsewhere in the region, there is only one other identified location in Israel that may possibly have produced the garum, said Erickson-Gini. According to what has so far been excavated, the Ashkelon site was not a major factory, and was possibly mainly for local use. . . .

There are several types of garum, and even a strictly kosher version called garum castimonarium that was guaranteed to be made only from kosher fish.

Get unlimited access to Mosaic: Subscribe now

Welcome to Mosaic

Register now to get two more stories FREE.

Register Now

Get unlimited access to Mosaic: Subscribe now

Welcome to Mosaic

Register now to get two more stories FREE.

Register Now

Read more at Times of Israel

More about: Ancient Israel, Ancient Rome, Food, Kashrut

Hamas’s Tactics of Attrition and Extortion Are Paying Off

Feb. 21 2020

In January, the Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh visited Iran after promising the Egyptian government that he would not. Cairo responded by cutting exports of cooking gas and tires to the Gaza Strip. Facing a possible domestic crisis, the terrorist group recently resumed sending balloon-borne explosives into Israel, and allowed other jihadists to fire rockets. The move succeeded, despite retaliatory strikes by the IDF, writes Elior Levy:

Sign up to read more.

You've read all your free articles for this month. Sign up now for unlimited access to the best in Jewish thought, culture and politics.

Register Now

Sign up to read more.

You've read all your free articles for this month. Sign up now for unlimited access to the best in Jewish thought, culture and politics.

Register Now

Read more at Ynet

More about: Egypt, Gaza Strip, Hamas, Ismail Haniyeh, Israeli Security