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.
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.
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.