The Israel Antiquities Authority (IAA) said on Tuesday, July 16, that a 9,000-year-old Neolithic settlement had been uncovered just outside Jerusalem.
Excavations were carried out at the site after it was discovered during the construction of a new highway in Motza, a neighborhood on the western edge of the city.
The excavations “exposed 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 IAA said.
The IAA estimates that between 2,000 and 3,000 people would have lived in the settlement, the largest from the Neolithic era ever discovered in Israel.
Arrowheads, pieces of jewelry, and figurines were unearthed during the excavations, the IAA added. Their origins indicated trade with settlements in Syria, Egypt, and elsewhere.
Jacob Vardi, co-director of the excavations at Motza on behalf of the IAA, told the Times of Israel that the site was a “Big Bang” for prehistory settlement research in Israel. Its size and the fact that materials have been preserved so well will “drastically shift what we know about the Neolithic era,” he said. Credit: Israel Antiquities Authority via Storyful