7,000-year-old settlement found in Arab part of Jerusalem

People lived in the area of today's Jerusalem as early as 7,000 years ago, an excavation in the Arab part of the city shows. 

A settlement from the fifth millennium before the modern era was found, the Israel Antiquities Authority (IAA) says.

The ruins of two dwellings, among others, were uncovered during an excavation that was held before paving a road in the Shu'afat neighbourhood of East Jerusalem.

"We found many objects," said IAA excavation director Ronit Lupo, all typical of the Chalcolithic period. 

During the Chalcolithic period, humans for the first time started using tools made of copper (chalcos in Greek), while continuing to use tools made of stone (lithos), hence the hybrid name given to the period. 

Sickle blades for harvesting crops, chisels, polished axes, pottery, a basalt bowl, even a bead made of a gemstone called carnelian, were among the finds, she said. A few bones of sheep or goats and possibly cattle were also found and these would be analyzed in a lab.

Although a few other traces of Chalcolithic settlements have been found in the area in recent years, these have been extremely sparse, said the IAA.

"Now, for the first time, we have discovered significant remains from 7,000 years ago," a statement said. It called the discovery a "highly significant addition" to research of Jerusalem. 

Last update: Tue, 01/03/2016 - 08:57

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