Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Sailing, sailing

Big news! It's not very Classical, but it is archaeological and really cool. Even the historic period people are talking about it.

A survey team on Crete found stone tools at several sites on the southern coast dating to the Lower Paleolithic period, about 130,000 years ago. As in, over 100,000 years older than any known Mediterranean seafaring, and 70,000 years older than ANY other known seafaring (from Polynesia to Australia, about 60,000 years ago).

For a little perspective - 130,000 years ago predates anatomically modern humans, so the peoples who were out and about on the Mediterranean back then were Neanderthals, or another species of early hominid. No one (that I've heard, anyway) is talking about the implications for this, but to me it implies levels of organization completely unexpected this early in history. So, pretty cool.

I must admit, the entire contents of this post I got from this article in the London Times. Apparently the researchers announced the finds at the Archaeological Institute of America meeting in Anaheim a couple weeks ago. I, alas, did not hear this there; I was probably at a session about black figure pottery or Downtown Disney or something. Dang. But, word on the street is that their article is being "fast-tracked" in one of the major Greek archaeology publications.

No comments:

Post a Comment