Israeli archaeologists have found evidence of large-scale war weapon production in the region dating back to 7,200 years ago, the Israel Antiquities Authority (IAA) said in a statement on Wednesday.
The IAA said that these are the earliest evidence of warfare and organized arming in the southern Levant region.
The team examined 424 sling stones from the Early Chalcolithic period (5800-4500 BCE) that were uncovered at two large archaeological sites of En Esur and En Zippori, both located in northern Israel.
It was revealed that the hundreds of limestone and dolomite sling stones were almost identical in size, shape and composition, pointing to large-scale industrial production.
The researchers said that the stones were smoothed, with a specific biconical aerodynamic form, enabling precise and efficient projection.
They noted that this was the first time that the sling stones had been discovered in excavations in such large concentrations, and the effort put into producing them points to organized preparation for battle.
The change from individual to mass production, employing many people, indicated an escalation in preparations for warfare, possibly between local powers, the researchers added.