When you think of ancient Egypt, pharaohs and pyramids come to mind. But a new discovery in the Nile Delta is shedding some light on an even earlier time in Egypt's history. Archaeologists have discovered storage silos containing animal bones and food dating back to the Neolithic era (around 5000BC), the AP reports—some 2,500 years before the pyramids at Giza were built. On Sunday, Egypt's ministry of antiquities announced the find in the Tell el-Samara area, north of Cairo, per CNN. Excavation of the site started in 2015, the expedition's leader says, and the latest discovery will provide information about the "people living in the Delta for thousands of years before the First Dynasty (the period of unifying the North and the South by King Mina and the beginning of Egyptian history)."
Pottery and stone tools were also found at the site, which a press release notes could suggest a "stable community." And, because scientists think farming in the delta at that time was heavily dependent on rain, they're hopeful this discovery could lend insight into how irrigation-based farming was later developed there. "Analyzing the biological material that has been discovered will present us with a clearer view of the first communities that settled in the Delta and the origins of agriculture and farming in Egypt," a ministry rep says. Site excavations are scheduled to be wrapped up by next year, followed by a more comprehensive analysis of all discoveries. (The earliest known Egyptian mummy was recently discovered.)