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9,500 Year Old Figurine Discovered Outside Jerusalem

August 29, 2012

Two Stone Age animal figurines were found outside Jerusalem. Archaeologists say they are 9,500 years old (photo credit: Yael Yolovitch/Israel Antiquities Authority)

The Times of Israel reports two ancient figurines were discovered during work to expand the Tel Aviv to Jerusalem highway:

Archaeologists uncovered two stone animal figurines outside Jerusalem that shed light on local life 9,000 years ago, the Israel Antiquities Authority said Wednesday.

One figurine, fashioned from limestone, depicts a ram with twisted horns. The other, more stylized, figurine appears to depict another large horned animal, perhaps a buffalo. It is made of dolomite.

Both are 6 inches (15 centimeters) long.

The figurines were created by ancient inhabitants of what is now Israel at a crucial period in human history — the era in which people abandoned nomadic lifestyles for villages and sedentary agriculture and made significant progress in the domestication of crops and livestock.

The Stone Age site at which the figurines were unearthed, Tel Motza, appears to have been one of the largest settlements in the area at that time.

The archaeologists say the village shows signs of advanced engineering skills, including the construction of two-story homes.

Scholars and archaeologists usually put the arrival of the biblical Israelites at around 1,200 B.C.E. — around 6,000 years later.

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