Israeli archaeologists have uncovered next to one of the country’s busiest roads the site of an extraordinarily well preserved prehistoric “paradise” used by stone age hunter-gatherers over half a million years ago, who left behind evidence of hundreds of knapped flint hand-axes.
The discovery at about a five-metre depth at Jaljulia, near the town of Kfar Saba, suggests that an extinct species of early human – homo erectus – may have returned to the site repeatedly, perhaps attracted by a water source and abundant game, leaving behind evidence of their primitive stone tools.
Archaeologists believe the site, north-east of Tel Aviv, was regarded as a sort of “paradise” for prehistoric hunter-gatherers – with a stream, vegetation and an abundance of animals encouraging them to return.
The most striking find was evidence of a well-developed lithic industry – referring to elaborately worked stone tools – including hundreds of flint hand-axes typical of the ancient Acheulian culture that existed in the Lower Paleolithic era from about 1.5 million to 200,000 years ago.
The dating of finds of Acheulian hand-axes – which scientists now believe were used for a variety of purposes from butchering to digging – has been used to trace the early human migration out of Africa into Asia and Europe.
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