Israeli and US archaeologists say they have found evidence of an earthquake that occurred about 3,700 years ago.
It is one of the earliest earthquakes recorded at an archeological site, said the University of Haifa (UH) on Sunday, reports Xinhua.
In the study published in PLOS One, researchers from UH and George Washington University in Washington DC examined an ancient Canaanite palace they uncovered in recent years.
The findings at the palace, located in northern Israel, included magnificent halls, wine cellars, dozens of jugs and evidence of glorious feasts and enormous meat consumption.
Also, murals in the palace testified to trade and cultural ties with the Mediterranean islands.
However, the palace, situated on a geological rift, was suddenly destroyed and abandoned, and the new study found that the cause was a strong earthquake which split the palace in halves.
Researchers say the heavy damage caused the residents of ancient Kabri to lose faith in the ruling dynasty, so they abandoned the city, and it has not been settled since.
They found that parts of the palace's walls and the floor fell into a gaping ditch in the ground, next to ruined jugs in the wine cellar and evidence that wine was spilled into the sewer.
Along with the lack of evidence of an attack such as arrows, burn marks and remains of unburied bodies, the team concluded that it was an earthquake that ruined the place.
The researchers also found mud bricks and animal bones in the ditch, strengthening their conclusion even more.