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Prehistoric migration route from Africa discovered in the Negev desert


Recent excavations conducted by the Israel Antiquities Authority together with local youths from Dimona, uncover a unique prehistoric site. The excavation, in preparation for the construction of a solar energy field and funded by the Electric Company, revealed a Middle Palaeolithic flint knapping site that existed between 250,000 - 50,000 years ago. Those who helped were youths from the city, who worked in the excavation as a summer job during the economically challenging period of the Covid 19.

Prehistoric migration route from Africa discovered in the Negev desert
Tools made of stone show the migratory patterns of early humans
[Credit: Emil Eljem/IAA]
The newly discovered site near Dimona is small. Prehistoric humans seemingly arrived here in order to access the abundant natural flint, from which they made their tools.



The site here is unique because of the flint knapping technology, known as 'Nubian Levallois', which is known from Africa. Researchers trace the path of this technology in order to understand the migration routes of modern humans from Africa to the rest of the world, about 100,000 years ago.

Prehistoric migration route from Africa discovered in the Negev desert
Stone tools discovered at the site [Credit: Emil Eljem/IAA]
The knapped flints artifacts remained right in the original place where the humans sat and created the tools. This specific technology is identified with modern human populations who lived in East Africa 150-100 thousand years ago and migrated from there to the rest of the world.



Over the past decade, quite a few Nubian sites have been discovered in the Arabian Peninsula. This has led many researchers to claim that modern humans left Africa through the Arabian Peninsula.

Prehistoric migration route from Africa discovered in the Negev desert
Aerial photography of the excavation by the Antiquities Authority near Dimona
[Credit: Emil Eljem/IAA]
The Dimona site appears to present the northernmost example of Nubian flint output found in situ, thus marking the migration route: from Africa to Saudi Arabia, and from there, perhaps, to the Negev.

Source: Israel Antiquities Authority [August 04, 2020]

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