Hippopotamus bones and 100,000 year old flint tools

The Israel Antiquities Authority uncovered the earliest building ever found in Tel Aviv, dating to the Neolithic period





The Israel Antiquities Authority uncovered the earliest building ever found in Tel Aviv, dating to the Neolithic period


Among the fascinating artifacts discovered there: hippopotamus bones and 100,000 year old flint tools



Remains of a prehistoric building, which is the earliest ever discovered in the Tel Aviv region and estimated to be c. 7,800-8,400 years old, were exposed in an archaeological excavation the Israel Antiquities Authority recently carried out prior to the construction of an apartment building in the “Green Fichman” project in Ramat Aviv. Ancient artifacts that are thought to be 13,000 and 100,000 years old were also discovered there.


According to archaeologist Ayelet Dayan, director of the excavation on behalf of the Israel Antiquities Authority, “This discovery is both important and surprising to researchers of the period. For the first time we have encountered evidence of a permanent habitation that existed in the Tel Aviv region c. 8,000 years ago. The site is located on the northern bank of the Yarkon River, not far from the confluence with Nahal Ayalon. We can assume that this fact influenced the ancient settlers in choosing a place to live. The fertile alluvium soil along the fringes of the streams was considerate a preferred location for a settlement in ancient periods”.


During the Neolithic period (also known as the New Stone Age) man went from a nomadic existence of hunting and gathering to living in permanent settlements and began to engage in agriculture. Remains of an ancient building that consisted of at least three rooms were discovered at the site. The pottery shards that were found there attest to the age of the site, which dates to the Neolithic period. In addition, flint tools such as sickle blades were discovered, as well as numerous flakes left over from the knapping of these implements, which are indicative of an ancient tool-making industry. Flint implements that are also ascribed to earlier periods were discovered at the site: a point of a hunting tool from the Middle Paleolithic period (c. 100,000 YBP) and items that date to c. 13,000 YBP.  


Other interesting finds were also uncovered in the excavation, among them a fragment of a base of a basalt bowl and animal remains: hippopotamus bones and teeth that probably belonged to sheep or goat.



Click here to download high resolution pictures from the Israel Antiquities Authority excavation.

Photographs: Assaf Peretz, courtesy of the Israel Antiquities Authority.

1.      IAA workers during the archaeological excavation.

2.      Ayelet Dayan, excavation director on behalf of the IAA, showing finds from the excavation.

3.      The hippopotamus tooth at the time it was exposed in the ground.