As reported on the BBC News website (16 July 2019), the Israel Antiquities Authority has announced a dramatic archaeological discovery near Jerusalem. Thousands of pieces of tools, jewellery, figurines, seeds and other objects have been found at the site of a huge 9,000-year-old settlement dating from the Neolithic period.

The discovery was made during construction of a new highway near Motza Junction, 5km west of Jerusalem. Archaeologists believe that the site was once a city housing as many as 3,000 residents.

Excavators found the remains of large buildings, with rooms that were once used for living, as well as public facilities, places of ritual and alleyways. Storage sheds contained a huge quantity of legumes, especially lentils, evidence of intensive agriculture. The fact that the seeds were preserved is astonishing in the light of the site’s age. 

Flint tools were found as well as thousands of arrowheads used for hunting and possibly fighting.

Stone objects were also found – some in tombs, suggesting they were burial offerings. This is a figurine of an ox.

This figurine depicts a human head.

Stone bracelets of different styles were also found. “Due to the size of the bracelets, we estimate that they were mainly worn by children”, the researchers say. “We also found carefully crafted alabaster beads, as well as medallions and bracelets made of mother of pearl”.

Other items, including these beads, were made of obsidian (volcanic glass) from Anatolia.

Israel’s Antiquities Authority says the discoveries have changed historians’ understanding of the Neolithic period in the region, having previously believed that the Judea area was uninhabited during that era.

Text                 Alun Harvey

Photos             Israel Antiquities Authority

Source             BBC News website report

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