Israeli archaeologists have unearthed a 7,000-year-old settlement in northern Jerusalem in what they say is the oldest discovery of its kind in the area.

Israel's Antiquities Authority said on Wednesday that an 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, says the items are representative of the early Chalcolithic period, around 5,000 B.C. Similar developments have been found elsewhere in present-day Israel but not in Jerusalem.

Lupo says this "is the first time we found architecture of this kind in Jerusalem itself." She says it points to "an established society, very well organized, with settlement, with cemeteries."

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