Israeli archaeologists discover 7,000-year-old settlement

This handout photo released by the Israel Antiquities Authority on Wednesday, Feb. 15, 2016, shows work on uncovering of an ancient settlement in Jerusalem.( Israel Antiquities Authority via AP)
This handout photo released by the Israel Antiquities Authority on Wednesday, Feb. 15, 2016, shows work on uncovering of an ancient settlement in Jerusalem.( Israel Antiquities Authority via AP)

JERUSALEM (AP) — Israeli archaeologists said Wednesday they have unearthed a 7,000-year-old settlement in northern Jerusalem, describing it as the oldest discovery of its kind in the area.

Israel's Antiquities Authority said the excavation exposed two houses with well-preserved remains and floors containing pottery vessels, flint tools and a basalt bowl.

Ronit Lupo, the authority's director of excavations, said the items are representative of the early Chalcolithic period, beginning around 5,000 B.C. Similar developments have been found elsewhere in present-day Israel but not in Jerusalem.

"This is the first time we found architecture of this kind in Jerusalem itself," she said. "We are talking about an established society, very well organized, with settlement, with cemeteries."

During the Chalcolithic period, people began to use tools made from copper, while continuing to use stone tools as well.

The site was discovered while authorities were doing roadwork in the east Jerusalem neighborhood of Shuafat.

It remains unclear how large the development was. The excavation covered an area of just 50 square meters (about 500 square feet), and there were no immediate plans to expand the work, she said.

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