TEL AVIV, Israel - Israel Antiquities Authority archaeologists estimate the remains of a building uncovered in Tel Aviv are between 7,800 and 8,400 years old.
It is the earliest structure found in Tel Aviv to date.
The IAA team came across the ancient building in a pre-construction excavation for a new apartment building in Ramat Aviv.
Israeli law requires an excavation before beginning any construction.
"This discovery is both important and surprising to researchers of the period," said IAA archaeologist Ayelet Dayan, director of the excavation.
"For the first time, we have encountered evidence of a permanent habitation that existed in the Tel Aviv region c. 8,000 years ago," she said.
"The site is located on the northern bank of the Yarkon River, not far from confluence with Nahal Ayalon. We can assume that this fact influenced the ancient settlers in choosing a place to live," Dayan said.
"The fertile alluvium soil along the fringes of the streams was considered a preferred location for a settlement in ancient periods," Dayan said.
Pottery shards at the site date the building - which had at least three rooms - to the Neolithic period when nomadic life began the changeover to permanent settlements and agriculture.
Besides pottery shards, archaeologists found flint tools, such as sickle blades, and stone flakes indicative of ancient tool-making, a base of a basalt bowl, as well as bones from a hippopotamus and teeth that likely came from sheep or goats.