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Israeli archaeologists ponder possible whodunit

JERUSALEM (Reuters) - Israeli archaeologists are scratching their heads over a possible 8,500-year-old murder mystery after discovering two skeletons at the bottom of an ancient well.

Flint sickle blades and arrowheads found in the eight-meter (26 foot)-deep Stone Age well in the Jezreel Valley in Israel's Galilee region, suggest it was used by the area's first farmers.

But archaeologists cannot explain why the skeletal remains of a woman, believed by archaeologists to have been aged about 19, and those of an older man were also uncovered deep inside the now-dry well.

"How did these come to be in the well? Was this an accident or perhaps murder? As of now the answer to this question remains a mystery," the Israel Antiquities Authority said in a statement.

Yotam Tepper, who directed the excavation on behalf of the Authority, said that "what is clear, is that after these unknown individuals fell into the well, it was no longer used for the simple reason that the well water was contaminated and was no longer potable".

(Writing by Jeffrey Heller, editing by Paul Casciato)

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