Discovery in Israel shows prehistoric human activity

"The first type of hominid that left Africa was Homo erectus, whose remains and artifacts have been found in Asia and afterwards in Europe," she added.

The route of their migration passes through what is known as the Levantine corridor, of which the Jordan River Valley is a part. It is the second known site in Israel, the other being at Ubeidiya, about two miles southwest of Lake Kinneret. The remains found there date back even further, to around 1.4 million years.

"Now we have found traces of the same [hominidae] African traditions at the B'not Ya'akov site, which is unique in many ways because it was a waterlogged site in the ancient past and there aren't many of those in Israel or, indeed, in the world," Goren-Inbar said.

In addition to the flint, limestone and basalt tools used by Stone Age humans, Goren-Inbar also found fossil bones of elephants, red, roe and fallow deer, rhinoceros, hippopotamuses, birds, reptiles and amphibians.

"In the B'not Ya'akov geological formation, where these magnificent finds were made, we also discovered fossilized remains of trees, seeds and even fruits," she said.

The discoveries were made during supervision by the Antiquities Authority of work being carried out to improve drainage of the upper reaches of the Jordan River in an effort to prevent a reflooding of the Hula Valley in the event of a torrential rainfall.

Goren-Inbar is concerned that the work being carried out there could damage the area and prevent historians of the future, equipped with better means, of being able to discover more about the ancient past.

"Any damage to this site would be tantamount to the destruction of our cultural heritage," she added.