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7,500-year-old underwater village may have been oldest olive oil production center in the world

Watani & Sons

An underwater excavation site off of Haifa, Israel, has revealed a 7,500-year-old water well and Neolithic village. The finds are from a pre-metal and pre-pottery settlement that lived on the Kfar Samir site. This lost Levantine village is now 5 meters (16 feet) underwater due to prehistoric sea-level rise, drowning out what may have been the oldest olive oil production center of the world.

The well is thought to have supplied fresh water to the village. According to Flinders University maritime archaeologist Jonathan Benjamin, “Water wells are valuable to Neolithic archaeology because once they stopped serving their intended purpose, people used them as big rubbish bins.” Once sea levels began to rise the fresh well water became salty, and the villagers used it instead for their refuse, throwing in animal bones and food scraps.