Remains of Neolitics site near Motza, the largest ever discovered in Israel, show mix of agriculture, hunting, animal husbandry — a society at its peak, say archaeologists
An unprecedentedly vast Neolithic settlement — the largest ever discovered in Israel and the Levant, say archaeologists — is currently being excavated ahead of highway construction five kilometers from Jerusalem. The 9,000-year-old site, located near the town of Motza, is the “Big Bang” for prehistory settlement research due to its size and the preservation of its material culture, said Jacob Vardi, co-director of the excavations at Motza on behalf of the Antiquities Authority. “It’s a game changer, a site that will drastically shift what we know about the Neolithic era,” said Vardi. Already some international scholars are beginning to realize the existence of the site may necessitate revisions to their work, he said. “So far, it was believed that the Judea area was empty, and that sites of that size existed only on the other bank of the Jordan River, or in the Northern Levant. Instead of an uninhabited area from that period, we have found a complex site, where varied economic means of subsistence existed, and all this only several dozens of centimeters below the surface,” according to Vardi and co-director Dr. Hamoudi Khalaily in an IAA press release.