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September 23, 2012September 23, 2012  0 comments  Biblical Archaeology

A treasure of impressive prehistoric finds was uncovered in archaeological excavations along Highway 79, in the Galilee. The excavations encompass a large area covering a distance of c. 800 meters. The prehistoric remains date from between 10,000 to 5,000 years ago and are situated at Ein Tzippori.


According to Dr. Ianir Milevski and Nimrod Getzov, excavation directors on behalf of the Israel Antiquities Authority, "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. This culture is named after the site where it was first discovered (in the region of Rosh Ha-Ayin), and is common in Israel from the end of the sixth millennium and beginning of the fifth millennium BCE". According to the excavators, "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 ╩ŻEin 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".


Numerous artifacts were exposed in the excavation, including pottery, flint tools, basalt vessels and artistic objects of great importance and bear features characteric of the Wadi Rabah culture such as painted and incised decorations and red and black painted vessels.   Flint tools such as sickle blades used to harvest grain, were also discovered and point to the existence of an agricultural economy. The items point to a vibrant network of trade that stretched over thousands of kilometers during this period.


Among the special finds  uncovered are 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 (sheep, pig and cattle) that illustrate the importance of animal breeding in those cultures. More important discoveries include stone seals or amulets bearing geometric motifs and stone plaques and bone objects decorated with incising. Among the stone plaques is one that bears a simple but very elegant carving depicting two running ostriches. These objects represent the world of religious beliefs and serve as a link that connects Ein Zippori with the cultures of these periods in Syria and Mesopotamia. According to Milevski and Getzov, "The arrival of these objects at the ╩ŻEin Zippori site shows that a social stratum had already developed at that time that included a group of social elite which used luxury items that were imported from far away countries".


Tags: stone age tzippori 

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