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The Israel Antiquities Authority (IAA) announced on Tuesday that it had uncovered evidence of an advanced flint-working technique at tool “factory” in the Negev Desert, supporting the hypothesis that the Negev was on the early modern human route out of Africa.

According to the IAA, evidence of a flint-knapping technique known as “Nubian Levallois,” which is exclusively associated with biologically modern humans, was found at the site. Researchers trace the path of this technique in order to understand the migration routes modern humans took from Africa to the rest of the world some 100,000 years ago.

“This is the first evidence of a ‘Nubian’ flint industry in an archeological excavation in Israel,” said excavation directors Talia Abulafia and Maya Oron of the IAA. “The knapped flint artifacts remained right in the original place where the humans sat and created the tools. This manufacturing is identified with modern human populations who lived in East Africa 100,000-150,000 years ago and migrated from there around the world.”

The discovery was made during an archeological excavation underwritten by the Israel Electric Company to facilitate the construction of a solar energy field. Another aim of the project was to help local youths find work amid the economic downturn due to the coronavirus pandemic.

According to IAA Northern Negev District Archaeologist Svetlana Talis, “Dimona is one of the most severely affected towns in the second wave of the coronavirus outbreak and was even on the verge of lockdown. After wondering what to do about summer holidays, local youths from Dimona came to the excavation to work and help their families, and to uncover a site of particular importance. All of this is part of a project promoted and directed by the Israel Antiquities Authority in recent years, which seeks to bring our youth closer to their own cultural heritage.”


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