Friday, February 19, 2010

Evidence of stone age sailors discovered

Image: Nicholas Thompson and Chad DiGregorio via New York Times
Stone tools dating back to circa 100,000 years (or more) ago have been discovered on the island of Crete, indicating prehistoric sailors visited the island long before the Greeks became Ancient History, according to two new findings. From the New York Times:
Previous artifact discoveries had shown people reaching Cyprus, a few other Greek islands and possibly Sardinia no earlier than 10,000 to 12,000 years ago.The oldest established early marine travel anywhere was the sea-crossing migration of anatomically modern Homo sapiens to Australia, beginning about 60,000 years ago. There is also a suggestive trickle of evidence, notably the skeletons and artifacts on the Indonesian island of Flores, of more ancient hominids making their way by water to new habitats.Even more intriguing, the archaeologists who found the tools on Crete noted that the style of the hand axes suggested that they could be up to 700,000 years old. That may be a stretch, they conceded, but the tools resemble artifacts from the stone technology known as Acheulean, which originated with prehuman populations in Africa.
More than 2,000 artifacts were recovered from the site, so this appears to be a mega find re-writing the history books. And in what qualifies as best sci-fi inspiring quote from the article:
“We were flummoxed,” Dr. Runnels said in an interview. “These things were just not supposed to be there.”
Indeed! But still amazingly cool that these things not only existed, but in huge numbers. Now wouldn't it be cool if they discovered Atlantis and Lemuria! ;)

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