10,000-Year-Old House and Cult Temple Found in Israel
Archaeologists made an incredible discovery at a construction site in Israel when they unearthed the oldest dwelling to date in the Judean Shephalah, along with a “cultic” temple, and a number of artefacts including a cluster of flint and limestone axes, some of which date back around 10,000 years.
The remains of the Neolithic house date back to a time when humans were only first beginning to live in permanent settlements as opposed to a nomadic lifestyle.
"Here we have evidence of man's transition to permanent dwellings and that in fact is the beginning of the domestication of animals and plants; instead of searching out wild sheep, ancient man started raising them near the house," the archaeologists said in a statement.
The discovery was made at an excavation site at Eshtaol, located about 25 kilometres west of Jerusalem in an area known as ‘Judean Shephelah’, which archaeologists were working on before the widening of Highway 38. Construction work for new roads in Israel has frequently led to new discoveries, but not quite as old or significant as this one.
"This is the first time that such an ancient structure has been discovered in the Judean Shephelah," archaeologists with the IAA said”.
In addition to the 10,000-year-old house, archaeologists also found the remains of a temple, which are more than 6,000 years old, and which appears to have been used for ritual purposes. Within the temple was a 1.3 metre tall standing stone, which had been smoothed on all sides and erected to face east. The researchers believe the structure provides evidence for cultic activity in the Chalcolithic period.
The discoveries will enable historians to develop a “broad picture” of the development of the society over thousands of years, from the time that people first started settling in homes to the transition towards urban life.