Jerusalem: Israeli archaeologists have unearthed a six-millennia-old cultic temple and a 10,000-year-old house at an important site outside Jerusalem.
Excavations by the Israel Antiquities Authority in the Judean Shephelah provides a "fascinating glimpse into thousands of years of human development."
Among the rare finds uncovered in the excavation, there is an evidence of a 6,000-year-old cultic temple and the first 10,000-year-old building to be discovered in the Judean Shephelah and a nearby cluster of rare axes.
Settlement remains unearthed at the site, the earliest of which dates to the beginning of the eighth millennium BC and latest to the end of the fourth millennium BC, researchers said.
The findings revealed at the site range from the period when man first started to domesticate plants and animals, instead of searching for them in the wild, until the period when we see the beginnings of proper urban planning.
The oldest artifacts that were exposed at the site are ascribed to the Pre-Pottery Neolithic period.
"This is the first time that such an ancient structure has been discovered in the Judean Shephelah. The building, almost all of which was found, underwent a number of construction and repair phases that allude to its importance," according to excavation directors on behalf of the Israel Antiquities Authority.
"It should be emphasised that whoever built the house did something that was totally innovative because up until this period man migrated from place to place in search of food.
"Here we have evidence of man`s transition to permanent dwellings and that in fact is the beginning of the domestication of animals and plants; instead of searching out wild sheep, ancient man started raising them near the house," they said.
A cluster of nine flint and limestone axes that were discovered lying side by side was found near this prehistoric building.
In the archaeological excavation conducted at Eshta`ol an important and rare find from the end of the Chalcolithic period (second half of the fifth millennium BC) was discovered in the adjacent area.
During the course of the excavation six thousand year old buildings were exposed and a stone column was discovered alongside one of them.
The standing stone is 1.30 meters high and weighs several hundred kilos.
"The standing stone was smoothed and worked on all six of its sides, and was erected with one of its sides facing east. This unique find alludes to the presence of a cultic temple at the site," according to the excavation directors.