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THIS OLD HOUSE: Amazing 10,000-year-old house uncovered in Israel

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)
November 26th, 2013
Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

Traces of a 10,000-year-old house have been unearthed in recent archaeological digs in Israel. Other remarkable finds while digging at a construction site included stone axes and a "cultic" temple. The artifacts provide a "broad picture" of human development over thousands of years.

LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - This findings are from the time when people first started settling in homes to the early days of urban planning.

Officials with the Israel Antiquities Authority report that the excavation took place at Eshtaol, located about 15 miles west of Jerusalem. The dig was in preparation of the widening of an Israeli road. The oldest discovery at the site previously was a building from the eighth millennium B.C., during the Neolithic period.

"This is the first time that such an ancient structure has been discovered in the Judean Shephelah," archaeologists with the IAA say.

The new building appears to have undergone a number of renovations. The find came from a period in mankind's development when humans were first starting to live in permanent settlements rather than constantly migrating in search of food.

The team found a cluster of abandoned flint and limestone axes nearby.

"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 remains of a possible "cultic" temple more than 6,000 years old were also among the discoveries. The researchers think this structure, built in the second half of the fifth millennium B.C., was used for ritual purposes. The structure contains a heavy, four-feet-tall standing stone that is smoothed on all six of its sides and was erected facing east.

"The large excavation affords us a broad picture of the progression and development of the society in the settlement throughout the ages," Amir Golani, one of the excavation directors for the IAA says.

The stone, which is worked on all of its sides, is evidence of cultic activity in the Chalcolithic period.

"We can see distinctly a settlement that gradually became planned, which included alleys and buildings that were extremely impressive from the standpoint of their size and the manner of their construction," Golani explained in a statement. "We can clearly trace the urban planning and see the guiding hand of the settlement's leadership that chose to regulate the construction in the crowded regions in the center of the settlement and allowed less planning along its periphery."

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