Monday 14 October 2019

Archaeologists unearth ancient city buried for millennia

 

Archaeologists at work at the site in northern Israel.
Photo: Tsafrir Abayov/AP
Archaeologists at work at the site in northern Israel. Photo: Tsafrir Abayov/AP

Ami Bentov

The remains of a large, 5,000-year-old city have been discovered by archaeologists, after being buried for millennia.

The early Bronze Age settlement was discovered during preparations for a road project in the north of Israel, shedding new light on experts’ understanding of the period, researchers say.

Israel’s Antiquities Authority said the early Bronze Age settlement - a “cosmopolitan and planned city” - covered 160 acres and was home to about 6,000 people.

“In this city, we have a planned settlement with a whole net of streets and alleys and squares, and drainage installations, storage installation,” Yitzhak Paz, a director of excavation on behalf of the authority, said.

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Archaeologists at work at the site in northern Israel (Tsafrir Abayov/AP)

The city was discovered during preparations for a road interchange project near Harish, a town 50km north of Tel Aviv.

Researchers said the discovery “dramatically changes” their understanding of the period - a time in which a rural, agrarian society was beginning to establish urban sites.

They said residents made their living from agriculture and traded with other regions and kingdoms.

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A figurine found during excavations at the site (Tsafrir Abayov/AP)

Among the discoveries was an unusual ritual temple, burnt animal bones - evidence of sacrificial offerings - and a figurine of a human head.

There also were millions of pottery fragments, flint tools and stone vessels.

“The remains of residential buildings, diverse facilities and the public buildings are an indication of the organised society and the social hierarchy that existed at the time,” researchers said.

The Antiquities Authority said that during the dig, archaeologists also found evidence of an earlier settlement dating back 7,000 years underneath the city’s houses.

It said that two nearby springs were likely to have drawn people to the area.

PA Media

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