The site of the two houses in jerusalem predates previously believed habitation in the area by some 2,000 years. The site of the two houses in jerusalem predates previously believed habitation in the area by some 2,000 years. The site of the two houses in Jerusalem predates previously believed habitation in the area by some 2,000 years. (Photo: Leore Grosman and team)

Amazing 12,000-year-old village discovered

Archaeologists also unearth a second prehistoric neighborhood nearby.

Two recent discoveries in Israel have significantly altered the understanding of the history of the region.

Archaeologists from Hebrew University uncovered a prehistoric village along the Sea of Galilee they believe dates back 12,000 years.

The site, measuring nearly 4,000 square feet, contained an abundance of findings, including human burial remains, flint tools, art manifestations, faunal assemblage, ground stone and bone tools.

The site of the village unearthed by archaeologists from The Hebrew University of Jerusalem.The site of the village unearthed by archaeologists from Hebrew University. (Photo: Austin (Chad) Hill/Leore Grosman)

Dr. Leore Grosman, from the Institute of Archaeology at Hebrew University of Jerusalem, who led the excavation, said the findings encapsulate cultural characteristics typical of both the Paleolithic period, when humans were mostly foragers, and the subsequent Neolithic period, when humans began to live more sedentary lives as farmers.

This bridging of the two periods suggests that some communities had begun to farm earlier than once thought and, just as significantly, it would contradict an earlier belief among researchers that during this period people in the region lived a strictly nomadic existence because of climate stress.

A building discovered on the site viewed from the south (A) and from the west (B).A building discovered on the site viewed from the south (A) and from the west (B). (Photo: Leore Grosman and team)

Further south, archaeologists in Jerusalem announced that they had unearthed an ancient settlement dating back some 7,000 years. The remains were found during construction of a new road and predate previously found evidence of human settlement in the area by some 2,000 years. Before the latest discovery, it was thought that the area was first settled in the early Bronze Age, roughly 5,000 years ago.

One of the buildings found on the site near the Sea of Galilee.One of the buildings found on the site near the Sea of Galilee. (Photo: Leore Grosman and team)

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.

“Apart from the pottery, the fascinating flint finds attest to the livelihood of the local population in prehistoric times: Small sickle blades for harvesting cereal crops, chisels and polished axes for building, borers and awls, and even a bead made of carnelian (a gemstone), indicating that jewelry was either made or imported,” Ronit Lupo, director of excavations for the Israel Antiquities Authority, said, adding that the discovery "represents a highly significant addition" to the understanding of the area.

Polished flint axe and blades and a gemstone bead were among the items discovered in the excavation in Jerusalem.Polished flint axe and blades and a gemstone bead were among the items discovered in the excavation in Jerusalem. (Photo: Israel Antiquities Authority)

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