FOUND: Evidence That Jerusalem Is 2,000 Years Older Than Anyone Thought - Atlas Obscura
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FOUND: Evidence That Jerusalem Is 2,000 Years Older Than Anyone Thought

A bowl found at the site (Photo: Israel Antiquities Authority)

Jerusalem has a long, long history. By the end of the Bronze Age, it was already a capital of a city-state connected to Egypt. The reign of the storied King David is supposed to have ended about 1,000 years before the birth of Christ. By the Roman era, it had become a backwater of the empire, only to gain in political importance again by the age of the Crusaders. Its modern era, as the capital of the state of Israel, counts for only about 1/100th of its 5,000 year history.

New archaeological discoveries, though, date settlements in this place even further back, to 7,000 years ago. 

Israel Antiquities Authority archaeologists have uncovered the remains of two houses that they’ve dated to the Chalcolitic period, when people started using copper tools alongside stone. There’s been evidence of human settlement from this period in other parts of Israel, but this is the first settlement to date back that far in the area of Jerusalem. 

The site is in the northern part of the city and was initially found during the development of a new road. Archaeologists found floors of two dwellings and tools from daily life, like pottery, flint tools and bowls. 

Now there are just 2,000 more years of history to fill in.

Bonus finds: A lost Spanish settlement in Florida

Every day, we highlight one newly lost or found object, curiosity or wonder. Discover something unusual or amazing? Tell us about it! Send your finds to sarah.laskow@atlasobscura.com.