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Huge Archaeological Site Uncovers Ancient Flint Tools

A large archaeological site in the north has uncovered flint tools and other ancient finds during excavations for a highway.
By Tzvi Ben Gedalyahu
First Publish: 9/23/2012, 2:11 PM

Beads found at archaeological site
Beads found at archaeological site
Photo by Clara Amit of IAA

A large archaeological site in the north has uncovered an extensive treasure chest of ancient finds, including flint tools, during excavations for a highway. Some of Israel’s most interesting historical discoveries have resulted from digging on routes of proposed roads.

The latest site of 40 acres (approximately 200 dunam) uncovered finds dating from the early Bronze Age 5,000 years ago and even from the older Pre-Pottery Neolithic period at the Ein Zippori site.

Israel Antiquities Authority excavation directors Dr. Ianir Milevski and Nimrod Getzov said, “The excavation revealed remains of an extensive settlement from the end of the Neolithic period and beginning of the Chalcolithic period in the country belonging to the ‘Wadi Rabah’ culture.

“The presence of remains from the Wadi Rabah culture in most of our excavation areas and in surveys that were performed elsewhere at the site shows that Ein Zippori is an enormous site that stretched across c. 200 dunams. It turns out that this antiquities site is one of the largest, if not the largest, in the country where there are remains of this culture.

“The architecture is rectangular and the floors were made of crushed chalk or very small stones. The foundations were made of stone and the walls above them were built of mud bricks”.

Among the multitude of artifacts uncovered in the excavation are pottery, flint tools, basalt vessels and artistic objects.

“Outstanding among the flint tools that were discovered are the sickle blades that were used to harvest grain, indicating the existence of an agricultural economy, said  Milevski and Getzov. “We also found flint axes that were designed for working wood.

“The barter that transpired at the time is attested to by thin sharp blades made of obsidian, a volcanic stone that is not indigenous to the region and the closest source is in Turkey. These items constituted part of the network of trade that stretched over thousands of kilometers in such an ancient period.”

Among the special finds that were uncovered in the excavation is a group of small stone bowls that were made with amazing delicacy. One of them was discovered containing more than 200 black, white and red stone beads.

Other important artifacts are clay figurines of animals that illustrate the importance of animal breeding in those cultures. The most important finds are stone seals or amulets bearing geometric motifs and stone plaques and decorated bone objects.