“here We have a city-building huge, planned, with streets which separate residential areas and public spaces”. It is as well as Yitzhak Paz, an archaeologist of the authority, israeli antiquities (AIA), has introduced Sunday in central Israel, the remains of a city built 5,000 years ago. It would be one of the oldest and largest in the middle East at the time.

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“By its magnitude, this is a major discovery in the Near East for the period of the Bronze age”, pointed out the archaeologist who personally directed the excavations.

Canaan

“In the Entry, located near the city of Hadera, is the largest site and the most important of the Bronze age, its size is 650 dounams (0,65 km2), that is to say the double of what we knew,” explained Itaï Elad, another member of the archaeological mission. Between 5 000 and 6 000 people lived here, farming and trade” according to Yitzhak Paz, who pointed out that the site had been abandoned in the third millennium before our era, for unknown reasons.

The excavations, conducted since more than two and a half years, have also helped to reveal another locality, smaller and more old to 7 000 years ago, a cemetery, a temple dedicated to religious rituals, but also of the fortifications long, twenty metres high and two metres, ” explains Dina Shalem, archaeologist in charge of excavations. This is the “first step in the process of urbanization in the region, which at the time was the land of Canaan, according to Yitzhak Paz.

A site now protected

About four million fragments have been found on the site, has indicated Itaï Elad, from pottery, tools of flint and stone vases, and basalt, part of which would come from Egypt. Standing in front of a table on which were exposed some of these treasures, he showed a head of a club round and ochre which could have been used as a weapon.

other artifacts have been discovered as rare figurines with a human face or animal. “We have found animal bones, burnt in a basin of stone inside the temple and nearby, evidence of sacrificial offerings”, indicated to the AFP Itaï Elad.

The excavations carried out on the site with the help of 5 000 young people have preceded a project of construction of heat exchanger led by Netivei Israel, the national company of transport. Because of the findings, it has decided to modify its plans to preserve the site.

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