Archaeologists discover a 5,000 year old City: En Esur

Sarah Abdulwahid, School Features Editor

Most of the time, construction workers do not expect to find 5,000 year old ancient remains on the job, but for Northern Israeli construction workers, this scenario is quite possible. On October 6, in northern Israel, public workers were preparing to build a highway off-ramp when something they had not pondered appeared before their very eyes. Archaeologists have unveiled the site as an ancient metropolis built during the Bronze age, home to more than 6,000 residents, known as En Esur. The site is 161 acres and lies in between the cities of Tel Aviv and Haifa. Excavation directors at the Israel Antiquities Authority compare the ancient city’s complexity to modern-day New York City, stating, “ ‘This is the Early Bronze Age New York of our region; a cosmopolitan and planned city where thousands of inhabitants lived.’ ”

With the discovery of ancient artifacts such as figurines, temples, and pottery fragments, archaeologists describe the site as evidence of urban planning, fortification, and major trading networks, implying a significant transition in the subsistence of human lifestyles. Archaeologist Yitzhak Paz says the city is more than 10 times larger than the city of Jericho, which occupies 10 acres, whereas En Esur occupies 161 acres. Despite its short-term prosperity, over the past few centuries, the site has been abandoned. Paz says the site was most likely prone to severe flooding, which could have made life in En Esur unbearable. “We still have to figure out the reasons for the abandonment,” he added. Although there are still many questions to be answered about En Esur, the discovery of this Bronze Age Metropolis serves as a monumental record for archaeologists and historians all over the world.