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Biblical Archaeology Review 46:2, Spring 2020

Strata: Bronze Age Megalopolis

Archaeologists at the Israel Antiquities Authority (IAA) have uncovered a massive 5,000-year-old city at En Esur (Ein Asawir) in central Israel, about 7.5 miles east of Caesarea Maritima. Covering 160 acres, it is the largest city from the Early Bronze Age (c. 3300–2000 B.C.E.) found in the land of Israel. Roughly 6,000 people lived there.

Beneath this, archaeologists also uncovered an earlier settlement dating to the Chalcolithic period, about 7,000 years ago.

The Early Bronze Age city had a fortification wall, houses, public areas, streets, alleys, and even a temple. Its inhabitants, mostly farmers, traded with people both near and far. This discovery is reshaping what scholars thought about the beginnings of urbanization in Israel.

The IAA began excavating this site prior to the construction of a highway interchange. In light of the discoveries, the planned interchange will be built high above the ancient ruins, which the IAA is covering and preserving for future generations.