Israeli archaeologists have discovered a sprawling 5000-year-old city so enormous that it has been dubbed the “New York” of the Bronze Age.
The massive town, which was uncovered during an excavation funded by the Netivei Israel Company, was located in northern Israel's Ein Iron area as workers prepared to undergo roadwork construction in the area. It is thought to have been home to some 6,000 people and featured public roads, neighborhoods, a ritual temple and fortifications, according to the BBC.
"This is the Early Bronze Age New York of our region; a cosmopolitan and planned city where thousands of inhabitants lived," the excavation directors explained in a statement.
"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.”
The city is roughly 161 acres and offers researchers a distinct insight into the lives and culture of the people living in the area at the time. Indeed, amongst the treasure trove of ancient artifacts was a huge stone basin for liquids, thought to be used during religious ceremonies in the temple courtyard.
“What we are calling a temple is a very unique building, we don’t know of anything like it,” said Israeli Antiquities Authority archaeologist, Dina Shalem, according to Bloomberg.
“Even in our wildest imaginings, we didn’t believe we would find a city from this time in history.”
In a statement, the IAA called the ancient metropolis, “the early bronze age New York of our region,” and “a cosmopolitan and planned city” which is thought to be a staggering ten times bigger than the famous Biblical city of Jericho.
“These surprising findings allow us, for the first time, to define the cultural characteristics of the inhabitants of this area in ancient times,” the group added.
Unfortunately, despite the incredible discovery being heralded as historic by experts across the globe, the planned roadwork construction is still set to go ahead at the location. “Despite its importance, it is unlikely the newly uncovered site will ever welcome any visitors, as it is destined to quickly disappear under a planned road junction,” wrote Ariel David at Haaretz.
Photo courtesy: Getty Images/Micro Gen