How Olive Oil Was Made in Ancient Times?

Olive oil is one of the most popular oils used in cooking today. It is a healthy alternative to other types of oils and has been used for centuries.

But have you ever wondered how olive oil was made in ancient times? In this article, we will explore the process of making olive oil in ancient times.

The Process

Making olive oil in ancient times was a labor-intensive process. It involved several steps, starting with the harvest of the olives.


Olives were harvested by hand or with the use of a long stick that would knock the olives from the tree. The olives were then collected and placed into baskets.


Once the olives were collected, they were washed to remove any dirt or debris.


The next step was crushing the olives to release their oil. This was done using a large stone wheel called a millstone. The millstone would crush the olives into a paste.


After crushing, the olive paste was spread onto mats made from woven reeds or straw. These mats were then stacked on top of each other and placed into a press. A weight was placed on top of the stack to apply pressure and extract as much oil as possible.


The extracted oil was then separated from any remaining water or pulp using a settling tank or by allowing it to naturally separate over time.

The Tools

The tools used for making olive oil in ancient times were simple but effective.

  • Millstone: A large stone wheel used for crushing olives.
  • Mats: Woven reed or straw mats used for pressing.
  • Press: A device used to apply pressure to the stacked mats and extract the oil.
  • Settling tank: A container used to separate the oil from any remaining water or pulp.

The Result

The resulting olive oil was not as pure as the olive oil we have today. It was often mixed with water and had a shorter shelf life. However, it was still a valuable commodity and was used for cooking, lighting lamps, and even as medicine.


Making olive oil in ancient times required hard work and dedication. The process may have been simpler than today’s methods, but it was still effective. It is interesting to see how far we have come in the production of olive oil and how it has remained a staple in our diets for centuries.