Gigantic Prehistoric City Found in Israel During Roadworks

epa07901019 Israeli employees of the Israel Antiquities Authority (IAA) carry archaeological excavations at the site of the 5,000-year-old city, uncovered at the En Esur (Ein Asawir) archaeological site, near the city of Hadera, Israel, 06 October 2019. According to excavation directors, the remains of a 5,000-year-old metropolis was uncovered and estimates it was home to some 6,000 inhabitants. The vast city is the largest and the most central ever uncovered in Israel, stretching over 650 dunams. EPA-EFE/ATEF SAFADI

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A 5,000-year-old city found north of Tel Aviv points to sophisticated urban planning taking place earlier than previously thought. Israel’s Antiquities Authority has called it the “New York of the early Bronze Age.”

Archaeologists in Israel announced Sunday that they had uncovered a 5,000-year-old city north of Tel Aviv.

It is the largest Bronze Age urban area found in the region to date and could fundamentally change ideas of when sophisticated urbanization began taking place in the area, they said.

Remains of 5,000-year-old city uncovered in northern Israel
 Israeli employees of the Israel Antiquities Authority (IAA) carry archaeological excavations at the site of the 5,000-year-old city, uncovered at the En Esur (Ein Asawir) archaeological site, near the city of Hadera, Israel. According to excavation directors, the remains of a 5,000-year-old metropolis was uncovered and estimates it was home to some 6,000 inhabitants. The vast city is the largest and the most central ever uncovered in Israel, stretching over 650 dunams. EPA-EFE/ATEF SAFADI

Israel’s Antiquities Authority said that the city was discovered at the En Esur excavation site during road works near Harish, a town some 50 kilometers north of Tel Aviv.

En Esur, with its monumental temple and huge population, was vastly bigger than anything thought possible in the Southern Levant 5,000 years ago.

Remains of 5,000-year-old city uncovered in northern Israel
 An Israeli employee of the Israel Antiquities Authority (IAA) holds a piece discovered at the site of the 5,000-year-old city, uncovered at the En Esur (Ein Asawir) archaeological site, near the city of Hadera, Israel. EPA-EFE/ATEF SAFADI

En Esur was smaller than the cities that arose contemporaneously in Mesopotamia and Egypt in the Early Bronze Age but was apparently unique in size for its time in the Southern Levant, the region that includes modern Israel, Jordan and southern Syria, the archaeologists explain.

En Esur had apparently grown to be a significantly large settlement already in the Early Chalcolithic period, roughly 7,000 years ago, leading some of its discoverers to suspect that prehistoric people in the Southern Levant began building cities much earlier than previously thought.

Via Jerusalem Post/Newsweek/Haaretz

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