(May 9, 2006)
During a routine antiquities inspection of the ongoing construction work at Ramot Rachel, Noha Sa’id-Aga, an archaeologist and inspector with the Antiquities Authority, uncovered a large concentration of stone tools that were used hundreds of thousands of years ago by prehistoric man. In the wake of the discovery an archaeological excavation was conducted there for more than a week during which hundreds of tools were collected that date to the Middle Paleolithic Age (200,000 – 50,000 BP).
The excavation directors, archaeologists Omri Barzilai and Michal Birkenfeld of the Antiquities Authority, report that the reason for the ancient settlement there was probably because of the its proximity to flint outcrops from which man produced his tools. “It is reasonable to assume that in this period man existed by hunting animals and gathering wild plants and did not permanently occupy one site; rather he wandered from place to place, in search of important resources such as water and food”, the excavation directors said.
The discovery of such an ancient site in Jerusalem has excited the excavators because even though the city is rich in antiquities from different periods, we only know of two other sites that are ascribed to the Paleolithic period: one on ‘Emeq Rephaim Street and the other in the vicinity of Mount Scopus. The Antiquities Authority reports that the discovery of the site at Ramat Rachel joins these two and proves that the Jerusalem region was attractive to man, not only from the Biblical period onward, but during prehistoric periods as well.
Source: Israel Antiquities Authority