November 2012: Two skeletons were discovered at the bottom of a rare Stone Age well being excavated in the Jezreel Valley. Both skeletons were dated along with the well to approximately 8,500 years ago. Dating to the Neolithic period, the well was discovered while archaeologists were excavating at ‘Enot Nisanit’ along the western fringes of the Jezreel Valley. One set of skeletal remains was female being that of a woman, approximately 19 years old and other other was male, a bit older. How and why both came to be in the well, whether by accident or murder, “remains a mystery,” an IAA official stated
The well was connected to an ancient farming settlement whereby the inhabitants used it for their subsistence and living. The upper part of the well was built of stones and its lower part was hewn in the bedrock. Numerous artefacts were recovered from inside the well indicating the identity of the people who quarried it, were the first farmers of the Jezreel Valley. The artefacts discovered included,deeply denticulated sickle blades knapped from flint which were used for harvesting, as well as arrow heads and stone implements. Excavation of the well shaft yielded animal bones, organic finds and charcoal, which will enable future studies about domestication of plants and animals and also allow researchers to determine the exact age of the well.
Yotam Tepper, IAA excavation director stated,”What is clear is that after these unknown individuals fell into the well it was no longer used for the simple reason that the well water was contaminated and was no longer potable.” The excavation was directed by the Israel Antiquities Authority prior to enlarging the Yogev Junction by the National Roads Authority. It will be conserved and displayed to the public.
The two oldest wells in the world were previously exposed in Cyprus, according to Dr. Omri Barzilai, head of the IAA Prehistory Branch.