Surviving water wells from the stone age era are extremely rare. This was a time when humans were first relying on agriculture and domestic animals to make a living. As they settled down to farm, they could no longer rely completely on springs and streams to provide the water they needed to survive.
Yotam Tepper, of the Israel Antiquities Authority explained, "This was a period after permanent settlements and already been established and after the agricultural revolution and domestication of sheep, goats, cattle and wheat. Now it became necessary to 'domesicate' water, too."
|An Antiquities Authority archaeologist exploring the recent find.|
Photo by Gil Eliahu
Wells from this period are a tangible evidence of a giant step forward in terms of human culture. The well in the Jezreel Valley has been dated as one of the oldest in the world, to about 6500 BC or 8,500 years old.
The well, which was discovered during road construction, was built with stacked stones at the top and the bottom was hewn into limestone - hewn by hand with stone tools. The well is approximately 25 feet deep and 4 feet in diameter. Capstones covering the well recall Genesis 29:2, "stone upon the well's mouth."
|8,500 year old bones recovered from the ancient well in the |
Jezreel Valley. Photo from Israeli Antiquities Authority.
The biggest surprise was what was found with the lost tools under the layer of silt. The skeleton of a young woman and a man aged 30-40 were found tossed into the well. Did they die in some tragic accident, or were they murdered and thrown into the shaft? Were the deaths from a domestic dispute or the result of waring tribes?