JERUSALEM, Sept. 23 (Xinhua) -- The Israeli Antiquities Authority (IAA) announced Sunday the discovery of a chest filled with ancient cultural and decorative artifacts at an excavation in northern Israel.
The archaeologists made their discoveries earlier this year at a 0.2 square kilometer excavation site at Ein Zippori, the regional Galilee capital in antiquity.
The findings date back to the early Bronze Age, about 5,000 years ago and from the even older pre-pottery Neolithic period, up to 10,000 years ago.
Dig directors Dr. Ilanir Milevski and Nimrod Getzov said the items were fashioned during the "Wadi Rabeh" culture at the end of the Neolithic period.
Among other finds, the dig team uncovered a string of white, black and red beads, images of ostriches carved on stone plaques, figurines of sheep, pigs and cattle, several bowls, flint tools, stone seals bearing geometric motifs and carved bone objects.
"The presence of these remains show us that Ein Zippori is an enormous site and that this site seems to be the largest in Israel, " the IAA said.
In addition, sickle blades used to harvest grain that were also uncovered point to the existence of a developed agricultural society.
"These objects arrival to Ein Zippori shows that a social stratum had already developed in that time and included a group of social elite who used luxury items that were imported from far away countries," a statement read.
The dig took place at the site of planned construction by the National Roads Authority on a nearby highway.