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Israel dig unearths prehistoric 'paradise'

Israeli archaeologists have uncovered a rare prehistoric site near Tel Aviv described as a "paradise" for hunter-gatherers living 500,000 years ago. The site, next to a busy motorway at Jaljulia, has revealed hundreds of flint axes and other artefacts. Experts say the area had a stream, vegetation and an abundance of animals - all perfect for early humans.

Ran Barkai, head of archaeology at Tel Aviv University, said the site had been "amazingly preserved". "For people it was like a paradise, so they came here again and again," he said. "The water brought flint nodules from the hills, which were used to make tools on the spot, and it attracted animals, which were hunted and butchered here. They had everything that prehistoric people needed."

The ancient landscape was found between Jaljulia and the Route 6 motorway, about 5m (16ft) below the surface, and the finds indicate it was used by the ancestors of modern humans - homo erectus.

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