A 6,000-year-old copper fish hook was discovered by Israeli archaeologists during an excavation in the southern coastal city of Ashkelon.
The hook is not only one of the oldest ever found but was intended - according to experts - to catch sharks or other fish of similar size.
The tool measures 6.5; centimeters in length and 4 in width and its large dimensions make it suitable for hunting sharks or large tuna of 2/3 metres.
What makes the find special - as co-director of the excavations Yael Abadi-Reiss said - is that "the oldest fish hooks found so far were made of bone and were much smaller than this one".
"The use of copper began in the Chalcolithic period and it is fascinating to discover - he added - that this technological innovation was applied in antiquity for the production of fish hooks for fishermen along the Mediterranean coast".
At that time - the experts underlined - Ashkelon was surrounded by settlements that were based on agricultural practices still in use today.
What prevailed - they added - was livestock breeding (including sheep, goats and cattle) and the cultivation of wheat, barley, legumes and orchards.
"We learned about the dietary habits of the people who lived here 6,000 years ago - continued Abadi-Reiss - from the remains of animal bones found in ancient waste pits, from burnt grains of wheat found in ovens and from hunting tools,
The discovery was made in 2018 during the works for a new district of the city but now, for the first time, the hook will be exhibited in April on the occasion of the 48th Archaeological Congress scheduled in Jerusalem.