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Haifa, Israel

Atlit Yam

Submerged ruins of a Neolithic coastal settlement, where houses, wells, graves and skeletons have been unearthed. 

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Off the coast of the village of Atlit lie the submerged ruins of the Neolithic site of Atlit-Yam. The site, which dates between 6900 and 6300 BC, lies around 10 m beneath the current sea level and covers an area of 40,000 m².

The site was discovered in 1984 by marine archaeologist Ehud Galili, and since then underwater excavations have unearthed houses, graves and wells. At the center of the settlement seven megaliths are arranged in a stone semicircle around a freshwater spring, which may once have been the site of water rituals.

Scientists believe that Atlit-Yam was abandoned suddenly as a result of a tsunami hitting the region, probably caused by a volcanic eruption in the Mediterranean area. Large piles of fish discovered at the site appear to support this theory. Of particular interest to archaeologists were the discovery of two skeletons, a woman and a child, which have revealed the earliest known cases of tuberculosis.

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Atlit, Haifa District