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The excavation of an early Canaanite home is taking place right next door to the moshav homes.
Photo Credit: Israel Antiquities Authority

Topic: Canaanite agriculture settlement:

Archaeological excavations of the Israel Antiquities Authority done prior to laying down a sewer line turned up evidence of human habitation 9,000 years ago.

Archaeological excavations which were conducted by the Israel Antiquities Authority in the Judean foothills moshav (cooperative village) of Eshta’ol, before laying a sewer line, have unearthed evidence that the area where the moshav houses sprawl started attracting agricultural entrepreneurs as far back as 9,000 years ago.

According to Benjamin Storchen, the excavation director on behalf of the Israel Antiquities Authority, “the ancient findings we unveiled at the site indicate that there was a flourishing agricultural settlement in this place, and it lasted for as long as 4,000 years.”

The archaeological artifacts discovered in the excavation site indicate that the first settlers arrived here about 9,000 years ago. This period is called by archaeologists the Pre-Ceramic Neolithic period, which includes the earliest evidence of organized agriculture.

The site continued to flourish, and reached the peak of its development in the early Canaanite period, about 5000 years ago. This period is characterized by the consolidation of large rural communities, which were dispersed all across the country. The economy of these villages relied on field crops, on orchards and on livestock farming, which continue to characterize in today’s typical Mediterranean agriculture.

This period is credited with some technological innovations in agriculture which upgraded man’s ability to process extensive areas of crops more efficiently.

It appears that the Canaanite site being excavated at the moshav Eshta’ol was part of a large settlement bloc, which came to an end for reasons that are not sufficiently clear some 4,600 years ago.

Stortz’n explains that “these findings indicate a broad and well-developed settlement in the area of the Judean foothills, near the spot where two local rivers, the Kislon and the Ishwa, meet.”

He claims that “these two riverbeds, which today are dry, were alive with streaming water in ancient times, which provided the necessities of life for the local community and allow them to develop thriving agricultural systems alongside an economy based on hunting. The evidence to that are flint warheads, discovered in the same excavation.

These early farmers developed a rich culture, which was reflected, among other things, in the plan of the Canaanite residence exposed at the site, right next to one of the moshav homes. There’s also an abundance of findings: pottery and stone tools, flint tools, including those used to harvest wheat and for housework, and arrowheads used for hunting animals and as weapons, as well as beads and bone artifacts.

Original article:
Jewish press

By: Jewish Press Staff
Published: June 30th, 2013

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Benjamin Storchen holding up a bronze period bowl.

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Topic: Stone Age settlement

Plans to build a new railway line in the north have lead to the discovery of an ancient Stone Age settlement with evidence of flint and stone tools and cultic sexual symbols.

Prior to work on the rail line to Karmiel, east of Haifa, the Israel Antiquities Authority excavated the Ahihud Junction and unearthed remains and artifacts from the Pre-Pottery Neolithic period and the Early Chalcolithic period, dating from the seventh to the fifth millennium BCE.

“For the first time in the country, entire buildings and extensive habitation levels were exposed from these early periods, in which the rich material culture of the local residents was discovered,” said excavation directors Drs. Yitzhak Paz and Yaakov Vardi

They found remains of a village and “a large number of pottery vessels indicative of a highly developed pottery industry, flint tools, stone objects, as well as a number of unique artistic artifacts, among them a phallic figurine and a palette on which female genitals are schematically etched – these symbols also represented the fertility of the earth.”

“The ancient settlement remains ascribed to the Pre-Pottery Neolithic period were discovered on top of the bedrock in which the ancient inhabitants hew different installations, and even built plaster floors in several spots. We found a large number of flint and obsidian arrowheads, polished miniature stone axes, blades and other flint and stone tools,” the archaeologists added.

One of the materials for the tools is not found in Israel, indicating that trade flourished with other regions, including Turkey.

“Another unique find that can be attributed to this period is the thousands of charred broad bean seeds that were discovered together inside a pit. The Neolithic and Chalcolithic societies were agrarian societies that resided in villages, and it was during these periods that the agricultural revolution took place, when plants and animals were domesticated. This is one of the earliest examples of the proper cultivation of legumes in the Middle East,” they explained.

A preliminary analysis of the animal bones discovered at the site shows that pigs were a principal staple in the diet of the inhabitants.

Original article:
Jewish press
By Tzvi Ben – Gedalyahu

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