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Research: already 7,200 years ago there was mass and planned production of weapons of war in Israel

A study by the Antiquities Authority, recently published in the journal 'Atiqot 111,Reveals the earliest evidence of organized fighting and arming in the Land of Israel in particular and the southern Levant in general

The ancient sling stones: the earliest evidence of warfare in the region. Photo by Emil Elgem, Antiquities Authority
The ancient sling stones: the earliest evidence of warfare in the region. Photo by Emil Elgem, Antiquities Authority

A study by the Antiquities Authority, recently published in the journal 'Atiqot 111, Reveals the earliest evidence of organized fighting and arming in the Land of Israel in particular and the southern Levant in general. The study concludes that planned mass production of weapons was carried out in Israel about 7,200 years ago.

The research, led by the archaeologists Dr. Gil Khaklai, Eno Baron, Dr. Dina Shalem, Dr. Yanir Milevsky and Nimrod Getsov from the Antiquities Authority, examined 424 sling stones from the early Chalcolithic period, which were uncovered in excavations conducted by the Antiquities Authority at two large sites - in Ein Asor on the northern coastal plain and Ein Tzipuri in the lower Galilee.

The research found that the hundreds of sling stones were almost exactly the same. They are mostly made of hard limestone, and their dimensions are almost uniform: their average length is 52 mm, their width is about 31 mm, and their average weight is 60 grams.

"The stones - which are intended to be launched from weapons called slingshots, are smoothed, and have a special aerodynamic shape similar to a double cone, in order to enable accurate and effective launching," say the researchers. "Similar sling stones have been found at other sites throughout the country - mainly from the Hula Valley and the Galilee in the north to northern Sharon, but this is the first time they have been discovered in excavations in such a concentration," they say.

Photo by Emil Elgem, Antiquities Authority

"These stones are actually the earliest evidence of fighting and armed conflicts in the southern Levant. The similarity between the sling stones indicates mass and rather industrial production. The investment of effort in the aerodynamic design and polishing of the stones implies that they were intended for use as a precise and deadly weapon", they say. According to the researchers, the large amount and the investment in the production of the stones indicate organized preparations for combat, and it is possible that a community effort was made to produce ammunition. If this is indeed the case, it seems that in the early holocaust period there was a step up in preparations for battle - from individual production to mass production involving many people.

The large concentration of sling stones is evidence of an escalation in preparations for combat in the early Chalcolithic period in our region, perhaps between local power centers.

"Archaeology reminds us again and again that history repeats itself," he says Eli Escozido, director of the Antiquities Authority. "The research insights of the Antiquities Authority researchers open a window to a deeper understanding of life and the relationships between groups of people in prehistoric times."

More of the topic in Hayadan:

One response

  1. One of the researchers messed up big time. The title of the article should be "Research: Already 7,200 years ago football was played in Israel.

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