Remains found at bottom of ancient well

Nov. 12, 2012 at 7:54 PM
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TEL AVIV, Israel, Nov. 12 (UPI) -- Mystery surrounds the bones of two prehistoric people found at the bottom of an 8,500-year-old well in Israel, archaeologists say.

The well was uncovered during recent excavations in the Jezreel Valley, the Israel Antiquities Authority said.

Archaeologists working on the Neolithic site found the skeletal remains of a young woman of about 19 years of age along with those of an older man at the bottom of the 26-foot-deep well, The Times of Israel reported.

Researchers said they are unsure whether the two individuals accidentally fell into the well or possibly were murdered and then dumped inside.

After these unknown individuals fell or were thrown into the well it was no longer used for the simple reason that the well water was "contaminated and was no longer potable," excavation director Yotam Tepper said.

In addition to the human remains, numerous artifacts were found attesting to the impressive quarrying ability of the site's ancient inhabitants, which enabled them to quarry the limestone bedrock down to the level of the water table, he said.

"The impressive well that was revealed was connected to an ancient farming settlement and it seems the inhabitants used it for their subsistence and living," Tepper said.

"No doubt the quarrying of the well was a community effort that lasted a long time."

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