Israeli archaeologists have found the earliest known houses in Jerusalem, showing that a thriving settlement existed there as far back as 7,000 years ago, far longer than had been thought.
The discovery was made during the building of a new road in the northern Jerusalem neighborhood of Shuafat, the Israel Antiquities Authority said in a statement on Wednesday.
The archaeologists unearthed two houses, complete with stone floors and well-preserved artifacts such as pottery vessels, flint tools, a stone bowl and even a carnelian gemstone.
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Stages of construction and signs of maintenance show the buildings were used for a considerable length of time.
The houses were built in the Chalcolithic period, approximately in the 5th millennium BC. At that time, man started developing the use of copper (chalcos in Greek) while using tools made of stone (lithos).
The remains predate previously found evidence of human settlement in the area by up to 2,000 years.