Ancient 'New York' discovered in Israel as archaeologists uncover lost Bronze Age city

Archaeologists in Israel have discovered the remains of a huge 5,000-year-old city described as an “Early Bronze Age New York.”

Experts from the Israel Antiquities Authority have been excavating the site in the Ein Iron area in Northern Israel for two-and-a-half years. The city, which was once home to around 6,000 people, is the largest of its type discovered in Israel. Archaeologists have found the remains of residential and public areas, as well as streets and alleys, in the fortified city.

The city has been excavated prior to the construction of a major road. An earlier settlement, which dates back 7,000 years, was also discovered beneath the ancient city’s houses.

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“There is no doubt that this site dramatically changes what we know about the character of the period and the beginning of urbanization in Israel,” said Itai Elad, Yitzhak Paz, and Dina Shalem, who are directing the excavation on behalf of the Israel Antiquities Authority, in a statement sent to Fox News. “This is a huge city – a megalopolis in relation to the Early Bronze Age, where thousands of inhabitants, who made their living from agriculture, lived and traded with different regions and even with different cultures and kingdoms in the area."

An aerial photograph of the excavation site.

An aerial photograph of the excavation site. (: Assaf Peretz, Israel Antiquities Authority)

Tools from Egypt were discovered at the site, and archaeologists also uncovered a ritual temple in the ancient city, featuring a huge stone basin for liquids used in rituals. An area for storing burnt animal bones from sacrificial offerings was also found in the temple, along with figurines, one of which depicts a human head.

Israel continues to reveal new details of its rich history. A colorful mosaic that may depict Jesus’ “feeding of the 5,000,” for example, was recently discovered in the remains of an ancient church in northern Israel.

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Archaeologists working in Israel also say that they may have discovered the biblical town of Emmaus, which is linked to Jesus’ resurrection and the Ark of the Covenant.

The excavation at the site. (Photo: Yoli Schwartz, Israel Antiquities Authority)

The excavation at the site. (Photo: Yoli Schwartz, Israel Antiquities Authority)

Haaretz reports that archaeologists have uncovered the remains of a 2,200-year-old fortification at Kiriath-Jearim, a hill on the outskirts of Abu Ghosh, a village near Jerusalem.

The fortification dates back around the second century B.C. when ancient Greek influence in the region was strong. Tel Aviv University Professor Israel Finkelstein told Haaretz that the walls were repaired during the later period of Roman rule in the first century A.D.

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A stone basin that was likely used for religious rituals in the ancient city. (Photo: Yoli Schwartz, Israel Antiquities Authority).

A stone basin that was likely used for religious rituals in the ancient city. (Photo: Yoli Schwartz, Israel Antiquities Authority).

Elsewhere, soldiers at a paratrooper base in Southern Israel recently uncovered a biblical-era watchtower.

Follow James Rogers on Twitter @jamesjrogers