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Researchers find the first domesticated camels in Israel

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Dr. Erez Ben-Yosef and Dr. Lidar Sapir-Hen of Tel Aviv University's Department of Archaeology and Near Eastern Cultures reported the discovery of the oldest domesticated camel remains ever found in Israel in the Feb. 3, 2014, edition of the journal Tel Aviv.

The archaeologists examined layer of strata in and around the Aravah Valley that follows the border between Israel and Jordan from the Red Sea to the Dead Sea and found domesticated camel remains that were between 2,800 and 3,200 years old in an area where copper was mined in ancient times. The scientists also found camel remains that date as far back as the Neolithic period.

The radiocarbon dating indicates that Biblical accounts of camel domestication during the time of Abraham are incorrect. The researchers attribute the discrepancy to the fact that Biblical accounts were written long after the actual events occurred.

Camels are thought to have originally developed in the Arabian Peninsula and were probably first domesticated there.

The location of the Aravah Valley is a logical pathway for camel merchants to have followed. The original domestication of camels in Israel is thought to have been the result of Egyptian rule at the time.

The scientists note that domesticated camels made Israel a hub of international trade.

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