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Artifacts From Across Mideast Found in 9,000-year-old City by Jerusalem

Updated: a day ago


An obsidian blade from Anatolia, found at Motza, July 16, 2019.

Haaretz.com, Ruth Shuster, July 17, 2019


New findings show the Motza mega-site was part of a vast network of barter, but huge town may have exhausted its resources very fast


A vast city that may have had as many as 1,500 to 3,000 inhabitants in its heyday 9,000 years ago was part of a sprawling Neolithic network of barter. Fresh findings in the mega site at Motza, the Jerusalem foothills, include an obsidian blade that came from Anatolia; a simple but beautiful, thin-walled bowl made of serpentine stone, originating in northern Syria; and large alabaster beads made in ancient Egypt, archaeologists associated with the Israel Antiquities Authority revealed on Tuesday.


The alabaster beads, each about an inch long, had been part of a necklace found resting on the chest of a body.


A pierced pendant bead found on another female body was made of mother of pearl, which came from the Red Sea – the southernmost part, excavation co-director Dr. Hamoudi Khalaily points out.


On the same body the archaeologists found a bracelet made of stone, which seems to have been broken and repaired back then. The two ends of each bracelet fragment had paired holes, meaning the three pieces could all be tied together.


Even the mortars used to grind grains and, it turns out, meat as well, originated from afar. They were made of sturdy basalt rock, which doesn't exist in the chalky Jerusalem hills. The nearest source is the Golan Heights.


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