A 5,000-year-old city that was home to some 6,000 people has been found in northern Israel.
Israel's Antiquities Authority on Sunday announced the existence of the settlement it called a "cosmopolitan and planned city.'"
”Even in our wildest imaginings, we didn’t believe we would find a city from this time in history,” said IAA archaeologist Dina Shalem.
The Bronze Age settlement was discovered during road construction near the town of Harish, some 50 kilometers north of Tel Aviv.
The archaeological site, known as En Esur, is located on 65 hectares and consists of public buildings, residences and a large temple.
"In this city, we have a planned settlement with a whole net of streets and alleys and squares, and drainage installations, storage installation,'' said Yitzhak Paz, a director of excavation on behalf of the antiquities authority.
He said the city was the "first steps in the process of urbanization" in what was Canaan at the time.
Archeologists said there is evidence that an even earlier settlement, estimated to be about 7,000-years-old, exists below the buildings of En Esur.