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Archaeology Magazine

A publication of the Archaeological Institute of America

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12,000-Year-Old Village Unearthed in Israel

Thursday, February 18, 2016

Israel Paleolithic Neolithic Village JERUSALEM, ISRAEL—Archaeologists have discovered a prehistoric village in the Jordan Valley that appears to have been occupied by both Paleolithic foraging peoples and early Neolithic farmers. Stone tools at the site strongly resemble those made by the Late Paleolithic Natufian culture, which lasted from about 15,000 to 11,500 years ago. Buildings and many artifacts found at the site, such as shell beads and other examples of jewelry, more closely resemble those found in early agricultural communities. The discovery suggests that people living at the site continued to use Paleolithic-style tools even as they began to adopt agriculture. “Characterizing this important period of potential overlap in the Jordan Valley is crucial for the understanding of the socioeconomic processes that marked the shift from Paleolithic mobile societies of hunter-gatherers to Neolithic agricultural communities,” said Hebrew University archaeologist Leore Grosman in a press release. To read more about the Natufian-Neolithic transition, go to "Grave of the Middle East's Oldest Witch." 

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