The 'New York' of the Bronze Age has been discovered in Israel - about three times larger than any other city site from the period.
The 5 000-year-old city between Tel Aviv and Haifa was uncovered on an almost 284-hectare site during roadworks for a new interchange to Harish at En Esur, according to the Israel Antiquities Authority.
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Archaeologists believe that around 6 000 people lived here because of its prime location - fertile land, close water resources and traditional trading routes were vital for human settlements during that time.
Also, the settlement was built on top of an even older settlement - dating around 7 000 years old.
According to CNN Travel, the archaeologists dubbed it the "Early Bronze Age New York of our region, a cosmopolitan and planned city where thousands of inhabitants lived".
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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 urbanisation in Israel," says Itai Elad, Dr Yitzhak Paz and Dr Dina Shalem, directors of the excavation.
"This is a fascinating period in the history of the Land of Israel – the Canaan of those days – whose population undergoes changes altering its face completely. The rural population gives way to a complex society living mostly in urban settings. These are the first steps in the country of Canaanite culture consolidating its identity in newly established urban sites."
Around 5 000 teenagers and volunteers helped with the excavations as part of the Israel Antiquities Authority's Sharing Heritage Project, aimed at cultivating a deeper appreciation for the region's history.
As for the exchange that was originally supposed to be built there, preservation measures are being put in place to build it high above the ruins and preserve the site for future generations.
*Compiled by Gabi Zietsman
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