Ancient Israeli City Was Already Advanced
One of the earliest archaeological sites ever found in Israel is being described as the ‘New York’ of its day.
Archaeologists from the Israel Antiquities Authority have been excavating a fascinating site in Israel north of the city of Tel Aviv called En Esur. It was discovered two and a half years ago during construction of roadworks. This week, the researchers made their findings public. It’s an Early Bronze Age site they estimate was built 5,000 years ago, contemporaneous with the first Egyptian pharoahs. That’s not all; the site shows another occupation at the site 2,000 years earlier. Here are some of the news sites announcing the find with photos and descriptions:
Archaeologists Uncover an Early Bronze Age ‘New York’ in Northern Israel (Newsweek). The site “would have dwarfed the more well-known cities of Megiddo and Jericho in southern Israel,” this article says.
Not only was En Esur large in its heyday compared to other ancient Levantine cities, but it was also intricately planned, Haaretz reported. It had large silos designed for efficient food storage, and the roads of its intricate network of streets were covered with plaster and stones to help prevent flooding.
Gigantic Prehistoric City Found in Israel During Roadworks (Haaretz). “En Esur, with its monumental temple and huge population, was vastly bigger than anything thought possible in the Southern Levant 5,000 years ago.”
While the people at En Esur had not yet developed a writing system, they had very strong trading contacts with other regions, as evidenced by the presence of pottery that came from as far as the Jordan Valley and Egypt, Paz says.
All this points to a complex and stratified society, which was probably ruled as a chiefdom by a local elite, the archaeologist notes.
Ancient Megalopolis Uncovered in Israel Was the ‘New York City’ of Its Time Period (Live Science). The site was ten times larger than Jericho. Photos show a well-organized system of buildings, both homes and public facilities.
The archeologists also uncovered millions of pottery fragments, flint tools, basalt stone vessels and a large temple filled with burnt animal bones and figurines — such as one of a human head containing a seal impression of human hands lifted into the air. In the temple’s courtyard, archaeologists found a huge stone basin that held liquids, most likely for religious rituals, according to the statement.
This ancient city spanned 0.65 kilometers and was likely home to around 6,000 people.
Ancient ‘New York’ discovered in Israel as archaeologists uncover lost Bronze Age city (Fox News). This article includes other recent archaeological finds that support Biblical passages. Regarding En Esur, the lead archaeologist says it is re-writing textbooks:
“There is no doubt that this site dramatically changes what we know about the character of the period and the beginning of urbanization in Israel,” said Itai Elad, Yitzhak Paz, and Dina Shalem, who are directing the excavation on behalf of the Israel Antiquities Authority, in a statement sent to Fox News. “This is a huge city – a megalopolis in relation to the Early Bronze Age, where thousands of inhabitants, who made their living from agriculture, lived and traded with different regions and even with different cultures and kingdoms in the area.”
5,000-Year Old City, Largest in Ancient Israel, Exposed in Sharon Valley (Jewish Press). The IAA has brought in thousands of students to take part in the excavation project. One thing they are learning with hands-on experience is that the experts were wrong about urban planning so long ago.
“Such a city could not develop without a guiding hand in the form of an administrative mechanism. Its impressive planning, the tools brought over from Egypt which were found at the site, and the seal impressions, are proof of this. It is a huge city – a megalopolis in the context of the Early Bronze Age, where thousands of inhabitants, who made their living from agriculture, lived and traded with different regions and even with different cultures and kingdoms in the area,” they said.
Biblical Archaeologists in Israel Make Stunning Discovery of 5,000 Year Old City of Ein Esur, Largest Ancient Settlement Ever Found in Region (NTEB). This evangelical Christian website includes a video clip by the IAA, where the discoverers describe the significance of the find, with flyovers of the site and close-ups of the work. This may be the best way to get introduced to Ein Esur in terms of photos and information. Dr Paz calls it “one of the most important sites today in the land of Israel,” and even outside the land of Israel as far as Jordan, Lebanon and southern Syria. Paz says that this will change forever what we know about urbanization at the time, and “What we know now will change what is written today in the traditional books, when people read about the archaeology of Israel.”
It’s always exciting to see discoveries that touch on what the Bible says. There’s no need to quibble right now about the dates; some will object to 7,000 years and the date of the Noah, etc. The important thing to note is that the experts were stunned and surprised. The evolutionary storytellers want to see slow-and-gradual development in everything. Here, a complex, well-planned city took only a short time to develop, long before Abraham, Moses, and King David. It shows that humans have always had the capacity for organization and design. When some secular archaeologists are looking at a complex ‘megalopolis’ right there in Israel, why would they ever think that later kings and leaders were incapable of urban planning, language and culture? By the time of Abraham, Ein Esur would have already been old news. The massive cities in Mesopotamia and Egypt, furthermore, popped up rapidly without slow and gradual evolution.
This fits what the Bible says about mankind, and the dispersal at Babel after the Flood. There would only have been a short fuse after the Flood before the explosion of urban and cultural wonders all over the Fertile Crescent and beyond. Archaeologists continue to marvel at the megalithic monuments around the world. Sites like Gobekli Tepe amazed scientists at the highly-organized and creative structures even without written language evident. Certainly spoken language, with translation ability, was very common to establish trade with distant kingdoms and carry out urban organization. Before long, clay tablets were recording ordinary financial transactions and legal disputes.
When evolution-trusting ‘experts’ are surprised at the capabilities of early man, we should take the cue to toss out their assumptions. People have always been intelligent and capable of great cooperative projects. It may be the case that we have devolved from our ancestors. Our only advantage is in the collective memory of discoveries written in books, and taught to the young, that sustains the human race from inevitable decay. Sadly, we see the tendency to idolatry that began at Babel continued on through the dispersal of the descendants of Noah. But God carved out one civilization—Israel—to learn the laws of the true God and transmit through their lineage the “Seed” that would come to crush the serpent’s head.