Women and Their Work

A Peasant Woman Churning

Life in the vineyards in the summer months is certainly a time when a good deal of care is done away with. It is pleasant living, fruits to eat, no house sweeping, and all kinds of housework reduced to the least.  (Source: Baldensperger 1901: 70.)

A newly planted vineyard will bear fruit in three years. All kinds of fruit trees as well as vines are planted in the vineyards--fig-trees, pomegranate, apple, pear, apricot, peach, quince, and mulberry trees. Directly the fruit is of any size the owner's family watch over it, and as soon as it becomes eatable they take up their abode at the vineyard, and remain there until it is all over. Everyone tries to pass some weeks or months during the hot unwholesome summer in a vineyard.  (Source: Klein 1883: 46.)

Arab Women Working Hand Mill

A watch-tower is built in the vineyards, generally of large stones without mortar, and on the top of it is a little hut roofed with branches. From this coign of vantage the vineyard can be overlooked and watched; near it there is often an arbour formed of rough tree stems, and covered with vines.  (Source: Klein 1883: 46.)

The vineyards are always surrounded by a dry stone wall and a kasr built in it. On the top of this loose-stone building they put a hut, which in summer only is covered by branches. Here the family lives, and from this elevated place the guardian can survey the vineyard, which, though fenced all round with thorn-bushes laid on the wall, is often visited by foxes, badgers, jackals, and sometimes thieves.  (Source: Baldensperger 1908: 293.)

Woman Weaving Reed Baskets

The grapes were not carried home, but the wine was expressed on the spot, every vineyard possessing its own winepress. It consisted of two vats, hewn one below the other out of the solid rock, on the slope of the hill. At the upper end a trough was cut, about three feet deep and four and a half by three and a half feet in length and breadth. The second trough was smaller, about four feet by three feet, and from twelve to eighteen inches in depth. The two were connected by two or three small holes bored through the rock, close to the bottom of the upper trough, so that, on the grapes being put in and pressed down, the juice streamed into the lower vat. Some of them are much longer and more shallow.  (Source: Tristram 1868: 408.)

Women in the Hill Country of Judaea

Source: Those Holy Fields, p. 24.

The work in the vineyards consists in hoeing and breaking up the ground several times after the rains, and in pruning the vines. Bits of rock are carefully taken out of the ground, but beyond this the Fellah bestows but little pains on his vineyard.  (Source: Klein 1883: 46.)

No tree requires such constant and severe pruning as the Vine. We know that in the vineyards of France the whole wood is cut back to the stump every year, and in like manner in the East only three or four leaders are left from the top of the main stem, which is about five or six feet high, so soon as the vintage is over.  (Source: Tristram 1868: 408.)

See Weddings, Houses, Marketplace, Women and Clothing, Woman at the Well, or Grain


Baldensperger, Philip J.

1900 Women in the East. Palestine Exploration Fund Quarterly Statement. 171-190.

1901 Women in the East. Palestine Exploration Fund Quarterly Statement. 66-90, 167-84, 252-73.

Rice, Edwin Wilbur.

1929 Orientalisms in Bible Lands. 3rd ed. Philadelphia: The American Sunday-School Union.