(photo credit: Sky View Company, courtesy of the Israel Antiquiti)
A large- scale archaeological excavation led by the Israel Antiquities Authority at the Judean foothills (Shfela) has led to the discovery of settlement remains dating to the beginning of the eighth millennium to the fourth millennium BCE.
The excavation was launched prior to widening works on Highway 38. The oldest artifacts discovered are ascribed to the Pre-Pottery Neolithic period (10,000 YBP). According to the site’s excavation directors, “This is the first time that such an ancient structure has been discovered in the Judean foothills. The building is almost entire, and there are a number of construction phases that indicate its importance. Whoever built the house did something that was totally innovative as up to this period man migrated from place to place in search of food. Here we have evidence of man’s transition to permanent dwellings and that in fact is the beginning of the domestication of animals and plants; instead of searching out wild sheep, ancient man started raising them near the homestead.”
A cluster of axes were discovered near the building. “It is apparent that the axes, some of which were used as tools and some as cultic objects, were highly valued by their owners. Just as today we are unable to get along without a cellular telephone and a computer, they too attributed great importance to their tools. Based on how the cluster was arranged at the time of its discovery, it seems that it was abandoned by its owner for some unknown reason”.
A significant find from the end of the Chalcolithic period (second half of the fifth millennium BCE) was discovered in the adjacent area in Eshat’ol. Six thousand year old buildings were exposed as well as a stone column - called a standing stone or mazzevā. This standing stone is 1.30 meters high and weighs several hundred kilos. It was smoothed and worked on all six of its sides, according to the excavation directors, with one of its sides facing east, which could allude to the presence of a cultic temple at the site.
“The large excavation affords us a broad picture of the progression and development of the society in the settlement throughout the ages,” said Dr. Amir Golani, one of the excavation directors. “We can clearly see that in the Early Bronze Age, 5,000 years ago, the rural society made the transition to an urban society. This is a settlement that gradually became planned and included alleys and buildings that were extremely impressive from the standpoint of their size and the manner of their construction”
The excavation will be open to the visiting public for free this coming Wednesday, November 27, 2013 between the hours of 14:00 and 16:00.
Advance registration is required:
Telephone: 02-99122366 / 052-4284408