Among the artifacts archaeologists have unearthed at a dig of a construction site in Israel are traces of a 10,000-year-old house, NBC News reported.
The dig in Eshtaol, west of Jerusalem, took place in advance of a road-widening project in an area known as the Judean Shephelah.
Archaeologists said the ancient structure, built in the eighth millennium B.C., is impressive, as it represents a period of time when settlements were being established and people were becoming less and less itinerant as they hunted for 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," says a statement by a team of archaeologists from the Israel Antiquities Authority. "Instead of searching out wild sheep, ancient man started raising them near the house," the archaeologists said, the Jerusalem Post reported.
Also found on-site were stone axes and evidence of a "cultic" temple that dates back 6,000 years. The archaeologists said the temple probably was used for rituals because it contains a six-sided monolith 4 feet tall that faces east.
"The large excavation affords us a broad picture of the progression and development of the society in the settlement throughout the ages," said Amir Golani, of the Israel Antiquities Authority. "We can see distinctly a settlement that gradually became planned, which included alleys and buildings that were extremely impressive from the standpoint of their size and the manner of their construction.
"We can clearly trace the urban planning and see the guiding hand of the settlement's leadership that chose to regulate the construction in the crowded regions in the center of the settlement and allowed less planning along its periphery," Golani said.
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