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3 August 2003
12,000-year-old settlement unearthed in Israel

Israeli archaeologists said they had discovered a 12,000-year-old neolithic settlement west of Jerusalem which they believe is the largest of the period ever discovered in the Holy Land.
     The settlement, in Motza 5km west of Jerusalem, was home to 2,000 people and dates to 9,500 BC, Hammadid Khalife, head of the archeological team, said. "We discovered a real treasure on the site consisting of 58 flint blades, found together, which at the time served as a kind of currency," Khalife said. The dig, which started three months ago, was organised by the Israeli antiquities department. "The origin of the stone and the way the blades were made show they come from northern Syria," added Khalife. "It is the first time that such a treasure from this Neolithic period, has been discovered in the Holy Land," he said, who specified the site belonged to an era known as pre-pottery neolithic.
     A similar discovery was made in Syria by a French team three years ago at a site called Jerat al-Ahmar.

Source: The Age (1 August 2003)

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