Discovery Suggests Humans May Have Been Going to Sea for Much Longer Than Previously Thought

The stone tools found above were found on the island of Crete and are thought to be around 130 000 years old. Crete has been an island for about five million years, and it has been thought previously that humans have only been going to sea for about 30 000 years. This new discovery would seem to radically alter the past hypothesis about seafaring. From the New York Times:

The Plakias survey team went in looking for material remains of more recent artisans, nothing older than 11,000 years. Such artifacts would have been blades, spear points and arrowheads typical of Mesolithic and Neolithic periods.

“We found those, then we found the hand axes,” Dr. Strasser said last week in an interview, and that sent the team into deeper time.

“We were flummoxed,” Dr. Runnels said in an interview. “These things were just not supposed to be there.”

Word of the find is circulating among the ranks of Stone Age scholars. The few who have seen the data and some pictures — most of the tools reside in Athens — said they were excited and cautiously impressed. The research, if confirmed by further study, scrambles timetables of technological development and textbook accounts of human and prehuman mobility.

Discovery Dates Seafaring 100 000-plus Years Ago [NYTimes]

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2 responses to “Discovery Suggests Humans May Have Been Going to Sea for Much Longer Than Previously Thought

  1. Thanks for the kool post. Very interesting!

  2. Interesting. Of course the obsession with certain developments in the past is read through the lens of today. Such “momentous” breakthroughs seemed like the most natural and mundane things in the world to those who accomplished them.
    TOG

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