Archaeologists have discovered the remains of a 7,000-year-old settlement in the north part of Jerusalem, the Israel Antiquities Authority announced Wednesday, calling it a “highly significant” find.
The structures are believed to date to the fifth millennium B.C., during the Chalcolithic period also known as the Copper Age, in territory that would one day be part of the Holy Land.
Two well-preserved dwelling houses, including the remains of their floors, were found.
Inside, other items were discovered that shed light on life during that period, including pottery vessels, flint tools and a basalt bowl.
“It is quite evident that there was a thriving settlement in the Jerusalem area in ancient times. Thousands of years later, the buildings uncovered are of a standard that would not fall short of Jerusalem’s architecture,” said Ronit Lupo, director of excavations for the Israel Antiquities Authority.
“This discovery represents a highly significant addition to our research of the city and the vicinity,” Lupo said.
A variety of flint tools were found, which offered insight into the livelihood of the prehistoric inhabitants, such as those used for grinding as well as for artistic endeavors. Lupo described some of the artifacts found:
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. The grinding tools, mortars and pestles, like the basalt bowl, attest to technological skills as well as to the kinds of crafts practiced in the local community. We also recovered a few bones of sheep/goat and possibly cattle; these will be analyzed further in the Israel Antiquities Authority laboratories, permitting us to recreate the dietary habits of the people who lived here 7,000 years ago and enhancing our understanding of the settlement’s economy.