Archaeologists in Israel have just uncovered by far the largest planned urban center of the region at the time. Described as an ancient New York City, the urban area was “cosmopolitan” and “planned” and thrived 5,000 years ago. A Canaanite “megalopolis”, the site would have been home to around 6,000 people making it, far and away, the largest urban center in that region of the world at the time.
The city, a Bronze Age metropolis, is only about 50km from modern day Tel Aviv. Archaeologists investigating the site uncovered a large planned grid of homes, evidence of ritualistic sacrifice in the city center, artifacts and tools from Egypt as well as millions of pottery shards.
The city, known as En Esur, was discovered in 1977 but a major research study was needed to clear the construction of a road last year. This study uncovered many startling facts about the ancient urban center. It is believed that the city was centrally planned, by some administrative authority. The roads, buildings and alleys are too well placed to have been situated by natural urban growth alone. The entire city was about 160 acres in size and was fully surrounded by a fortified wall just over 6 feet high. In the center of the city they found a large temple with plentiful evidence of ritualistic animal sacrifice. Underneath that temple, they found the foundation of another temple which is nearly 2,000 years older making it an even more ancient urban center.