While advanced stone blade production has been thought to go back just 30,000 to 40,000 years, researchers at Tel Aviv University say the cave finding suggests "modern" blade production was practiced between 200,000 to 400,000 years ago by a geographically limited group of hominids who lived in modern-day Israel, Lebanon, Syria and Jordan.
TAU researchers say large numbers of long, slender flint blades were discovered in the Qesem Cave.
The blades were created using a well-planned "production line," researcher Ran Barkai said in a TAU release Monday.
The choice of raw material and the production methods rivals the blade technology used hundreds of thousands of years later, the researchers said.
Thousands of blades have been unearthed in the cave.
"Because they could be produced so efficiently, they were almost used as expendable items," archaeologist Avi Gopher said.