A sprawling 5,000-year-old Canaanite city has been discovered in the Sharon region, north of the Tel Aviv area, says the Israel Antiquities Authority (IAA).

En-Esur is said to be the largest city from the early Bronze Age ever to be uncovered in Israel.

The Canaanite city covers approximately 650,000 square meters and housed roughly 6,000 people at the time, according to an IAA statement. The massive city is adjacent to a much smaller 7,000-year-old Chalcolithic settlement.

The excavation was directed by IAA archaeologists Itai Elad, Dr. Yitzhak Paz, and Dr. Dina Shalem. It took 5,000 volunteers to excavate the site. The archeologists believe that they have still only uncovered 10% of it.

The dig revealed a cemetery, a fortified wall, and the remains of public and private buildings, says the IAA.

Dozens of primitive tools, pottery fragments, and basalt stone vessels were unearthed. Some interesting figurines were found as well, such as the one of a human head and the one with a man with his hands up high with an animal by his side.

In the center of En-Esur, the remains of a large temple, including a large stone basin and burnt animal bones, were discovered.

According to the Israel National Roads Company. it is a standard procedure to call in the IAA before the construction of a new road or highway. Due to the significant nature of this particular find, the planned highway will have an overpass over the site in order to preserve the ancient city.