Jerusalem: 9,000-year-old city found under vineyard
"ISRAEL — Archaeologists are stunned by an incredible find near Jerusalem.
It's a 9,000-year-old village that's providing a wealth of information about the stone age.
Just off a busy highway just outside Jerusalem, a remarkable find, a neolithic village from the latter part of the stone age nine thousand years old, a discovery that has astounded veteran archaeologists.
Jacob Vardi, Israel Antiquities Authority said, "What we have here in Motza is a game changer in terms of what we know about the Neolithic period here in the southern Levant.
Archaeologist Jacob Vardi has been doing this a long time and couldn't believe what was lying just below what was a vineyard.
"It was hard for me to accept this in the beginning but the evidence, the archaeological evidence doesn't lie."
"What you see here is a building. We are inside a large room of a 9000 year building. We have the foundation of the all around us and you can see corridors and you can see small niches."
No one had any idea what was here until Jerusalem needed a new highway in this part of the world an archaeological survey always comes first - and even experts used to finding amazing things in this region were stunned not just by the village they found but the size of it. Home, they believe, to perhaps three thousand people.
"Not only that we found the village - it's a megasite. If I compare it to modern days it can be equivalent to Jerusalem or Tel Aviv when we talk about the size - it's amazing."
"One of the most remarkable things about this site is how ordered it is - early "city planning" if you like. You've got house, house, house, laneways between the houses and, here, the equivalent of one of the main roads."
"We have areas that were probably kitchens with stone tools, grinding stones sand mortars that used to process the lentils"
What they have already learned from this village about this period nine thousand years ago is enormous, the structure of society more complex than expected, the agricultural knowledge much greater, the use of domesticated animals, the tools more advanced than they imagined.
And they've only just begun. The follow up research and cataloguing will take years and much, much more will be learned.
Vardi says it is the highlight of his career, nothing could top this.
"It's a once in a lifetime project and I couldn't hope for anything better than this - it's an amazing discovery."
As for the highway plan that led to the discovery of this place that road is still needed after the site has been meticulously documented, catalogued, and digitally surveyed, some of it will be preserved for posterity - for tourism and study the rest ? Well, that highway will still be built and much of a nine thousand year old village will disappear once again."
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2 months, 2 weeks ago