Vast 9,000-year-old ‘metropolis’ discovered buried near Jerusalem
The history of humans in the region could be rewritten by an immense prehistoric settlement dating back 9,000 years, discovered near Jerusalem by Israeli archaeologists during preparations for a new highway.
The settlement, near modern Motza, at home to about 3000 people in the Stone Age, disapproves of the long-standing theory of people not currently living in Judea that the area is known as the “bigbang,” as well as a “game changer” for our understanding of the country’s human settlement.
The site revealed huge buildings, flint tools, including thousands and thousands of arrowheads, axes for chopping down forests, sickle blade and knives- proving the city was a bustling hub of complex society
It was thought that the area was previously uninhabited and only the other bank of the Jordan river had such vast cities but the site, which covers dozens of acres, has forced them to reconsider all they know about Israeli history.
According to the Antiquities Authority, this is the first time that such a large-scale settlement from the Neolithic Period is discovered in Israel, and one of the largest of its kind in the region
Before the discovery, it was widely believed the entire area had been uninhabited in that period, during which people were shifting away from hunting for survival to a more sedentary lifestyle that included farming.
Jacob Vardi, co-director of the excavations at Motza on behalf of the Antiquities Authority, said: ‘It’s a game changer, a site that will drastically shift what we know about the Neolithic era.’
‘So far, it was believed that the Judea area was empty, and that sites of that size existed only on the other bank of the Jordan river, or in the Northern Levant.
‘Instead of an uninhabited area from that period, we have found a complex site, where varied economic means of subsistence existed, and all this only several dozens of centimetres below the surface.’
The archaeological team discovered large buildings, including rooms that were used for living, as well as public facilities and places of ritual.
Between the buildings, alleys were exposed, bearing evidence of the settlement’s advanced level of planning.
The team also found storage sheds that contained large quantities of legumes, particularly lentils, whose seeds were remarkably preserved throughout the millennia.