Israel discovers 19th-century soap factory in Jaffa

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Jerusalem, Aug 14 (IANS) A soap factory dating back to the 19th century has been unearthed, along with large underground chambers, in the old city of Jaffa, said a report published on Tuesday by Israeli Antiquities Authority (IAA).

The discoveries were revealed at the Uri Geller Museum, now under construction and expected to be opened to the public in a few months, Xinhua news agency reported.

The site included troughs for mixing raw materials for the soap, a large cauldron, a hearth, water cisterns and underground vaults that were used for storage.

This discovery allows archeologists to reconstruct the manufacturing process, and to compare with similar factories where the traditional manufacturing process has remained.

The factory, whose original ownership remains unclear, is the second of its kind discovered in Jaffa, a part of the coastal city of Tel Aviv-Jaffa, located in the centre of Israel.

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The production of soap from olive oil is an industry that was recorded as far back as the 10th-century. Soap became an important and lucrative product in the area, booming in the middle ages and continuing till the start of the 20th-century.

–IANS

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