January 12, 2010

Ancient City Unearthed In Israel

Remnants of an 8,000-year-old prehistoric structure and ancient flint tools were found in the modern city of Tel Aviv, Israel's Antiquities Authority announced Monday.

Uncovered during construction in the wealthy Ramat Aviv neighborhood, the building represents the oldest structure to ever be uncovered in Tel Aviv and challenges what archaeologists have understood about the area during that period of time.

"This discovery is both important and surprising to researchers of the period," said Ayelet Dayan, the archaeologist heading the excavation.

"For the first time we have encountered evidence of a permanent habitation that existed in the Tel Aviv region 8,000 years ago," she said.

Experts believe that the three-room structure was built during the Neolithic period, a time when humans transitioned from a nomadic lifestyle of hunting and gathering to abiding in permanent settlements and engaging in agriculture.

The remains were discovered close to the Ayalon river, which Dayan believes may have had something to do with the decision to settle, reported the Associated Press.

Archaeologists used pieces of broken pottery found at the site to date the building.

Other artifacts found nearby include flint tools and hippopotamus bones from between 13,000 and 100,000 years ago.

Just 100 years ago, Tel Aviv was founded on barren sand dunes. It is not the financial and cultural center of the Mediterranean.


Image Caption: Tel Aviv's Ramat Aviv neighborhood. Courtesy Etan J. Tal - Wikipedia


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