(JNS.org) Archaeologists are stunned by the uncovering of what they described as a “gigantic” dolmen in Israel’s Upper Galilee region, saying the stone’s discovery contradicts current theories regarding the sophistication of the Bronze Age.
The dolmen—a 10-foot-wide, 6-foot-long flat stone weighing 50 tons—was found by archaeologists laid flat across several upright stones like a tabletop, and features several drawings engraved on its underside, reported Fox News.
The discovery is one of more than 400 large stones found in a field adjacent to a nearby kibbutz, and is the first dolmen unearthed in the Middle East featuring artistic engravings. It was uncovered as part of an archaeological initiative headed by the Israel Antiquities Authority (IAA), in partnership with Hebrew University and Tel Hai College.
IAA archaeologist Uri Berger said of the dolmen’s discovery, “This is the first art ever documented in a dolmen in the Middle East…No parallels exist for these shapes in the engraved rock drawings of the Middle East, and their significance remains a mystery.”
The dolmen’s discovery challenges existing theories regarding civilization during the Bronze Age, which had left little archaeological evidence of cities and large settlements.
“The gigantic dolmen…is without doubt an indication of public construction that required a significant amount of manpower over a considerable period of time,” said Prof. Gonen Sharon of Tel Hai College’s Galilee Studies Program, according to Fox News.