The oldest tusk found in its entirety at a prehistoric site in the Middle East, according to the Israel Antiquities Authority (AIA), was discovered in the area of Kibbutz Revadim, near Ashkelon, and weighs about 150 kg.
A species that “disappeared from this region about 400,000 years ago”.
“Giant elephants roamed and grazed at this prehistoric site on the Israeli coastal plain half a million years ago, as evidenced by this exceptionally well-preserved ancient tusk,” the AIA said in a statement. It is descended from the so-called straight-tusked elephant, a species that “disappeared from this region about 400,000 years ago,” Avi Levy, AIA excavation director, told AFP.
Judging by the size of this tusk, the elephant must have been between 4.5 and 5 meters tall. Elephant bones have already been found in this sector of Israel, but not the type of tusk that Mr. Levy called a “fantastic” find.
“Did the defense have social or spiritual significance?”
“The discovery of the tusk, separated from the skull and the rest of the body (of the elephant), raises the question: is the tusk the remains of a downtrodden elephant or was it collected by the locals in prehistoric times? social or spiritual significance? ask Ofer Marder, professor of archeology at Ben-Gurion University in Beersheba (south), and Yanir Milewski, director of AIA’s prehistory department.
Flint tools were found near the tusk, which prehistoric people used to skin and carve animals. Archaeologists note that the tusk is very fragile and can break. When it is removed from the ground, it will be transferred to the AIA laboratory for study and preservation.