Archaeologists have unearthed the oldest known remains of an ancient settlement on a site in northeastern Jerusalem, dating 7,000 years, the Israel Antiquities Authority announced today.
The incredible finds were discovered during excavations carried out prior to the laying of a new road in the Shuafat neighborhood.
The archaeological site dates back to the begging of the Chalcolithic era, when humans started using copper tools.
Dr. Omri Barzilai, head of the Israel Antiquities Authority’s Prehistory Branch believes that the findings are the oldest proof of human settlement in Jerusalem. “The Chalcolithic period is known in the Negev, the coastal plain, the Galilee and the Golan, but is almost completely absent in the Judean Hills and Jerusalem,” said Barzilai. “Although in recent years we have discovered a few traces of Chalcolithic settlements, such as those at Abu Gosh, Motza Junction, and the Holyland compound in Jerusalem, they have been extremely sparse. Now, for the first time, we have discovered significant remains from 7,000 years ago.”
The excavation exposed two houses with well-preserved remains and floors containing various installations as well as pottery vessels, flint tools, and a basalt bowl.
According to Ronit Lupo, director of excavations for the IAA, the discovery, which includes elaborate architectural structures and variety of different tools, points to a thriving ancient population in the area. She also points out that a number of animal bones found on the site will help Israeli archaeologists understand the dietary and economic habits of the people who lived there.