Israel's cultural sites and myriad discoveries enchant holidaymakers on group tours. Now experts claim the latest excavation there offers a fascinating insight into human development.
A 10,000-year-old house, which goes back to the start of civilisation, was unearthed close to Jerusalem in an area called the Judean Shephelah.
It is the oldest building ever found in the region.
Today, tourists to Jerusalem have all their home comforts laid on while enjoying attractions such as the Western Wall, the Dome of the Rock, the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, the Jordan River, the Sea of Galilee and the fortress of Masada.
But archaeologists say this old house was built in an era of human history when communities first started to domesticate plants and animals rather than go out to hunt for them themselves.
The excavation leaders said that whoever built the house did something that was completely new.
That's because man migrated from place to place in search of food up until this period.
They said: "Here we have evidence of man's transition to permanent dwellings and that in fact is the beginning of the domestication of animals and plants; instead of searching out wild sheep, ancient man started raising them near the house."
The amazing discoveries, the oldest of which come from the Pre-Pottery Neolithic Period, were unearthed during an excavation before the widening of a road.
In addition, researchers found a bunch of nine flint and limestone axes lying next to each other near the structure.
In a nearby dig, excavations also found remains of several 6,000-year-old buildings and a 4ft 3in (129.5cm) stone column that scientists think is evidence of a temple.
Dr. Amir Golani, one of the excavation directors, said the big excavation gives them a wider picture of the progression and development of the society in the settlement throughout the ages.
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