10,000 year old house unearthed in Israel
|A Chalcolithic period building and the standing stone (mazzevā) positioned|
at the end of it [Credit:: Assaf Peretz/Israel Antiquities Authority]
An extensive archaeological excavation of the Israel Antiquities Authority prior to widening Highway 38, which is being underwritten by the Netivei Israel Company, is producing amazing finds that provide a broad picture covering thousands of years of development of human society. Settlement remains were unearthed at the site, the earliest of which dates to the beginning of the eighth millennium BCE and latest to the end of the fourth millennium BCE.
|This standing stone (mazzevā), which is worked on all of its sides, is believed to be evidence|
of cultic activity [Credit: Zinobi Moskowitz/Israel Antiquities Authority]
The oldest artifacts that were exposed at the site are ascribed to the Pre-Pottery Neolithic period (10,000 YBP). According to Dr. Amir Golani, Dr. Ya‘akov Vardi, Benyamin Storchan and Dr. Ron Be’eri, excavation directors on behalf of the Israel Antiquities Authority, “This is the first time that such an ancient structure has been discovered in the Judean Shephelah. The building, almost all of which was found, underwent a number of construction and repair phases that allude to its importance. It should be emphasized that whoever built the house did something that was totally innovative because up until 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 house”.
|View of the 10,000-year-old house unearthed near the town of Eshtaol, Judean|
Shephelah [Credit: Dr Ya’akov Vardi/Israel Antiquities Authority]
In the archaeological excavation conducted at Eshta’ol an important and rare find from the end of the Chalcolithic period (second half of the fifth millennium BCE) was discovered in the adjacent area. During the course of the excavation six thousand year old buildings were exposed and a stone column (called a standing stone or mazzeva) was discovered alongside one of them. The standing stone is 1.30 meters high and weighs several hundred kilos. According to the excavation directors, “The standing stone was smoothed and worked on all six of its sides, and was erected with one of its sides facing east. This unique find alludes to the presence of a cultic temple at the site”. The archaeologists said, “In the past numerous manifestations have been found of the cultic practice that existed in the Chalcolithic period; however, from the research we know of only a few temples at ‘En Gedi and at Teleilat Ghassul in Transjordan”.
|An aerial view of the large excavation along Highway 38 [Credit: Sky View|
Company/Israel Antiquities Authority]
The Israel Antiquities Authority and Netivei Israel Company will open the excavation to the visiting public this coming Wednesday, November 27, 2013
Source: Israel Antiquities Authority [November 25, 2013]