Sailors may have cruised the Med 14,000 years ago
2007 07 23

By Michele Kambas | reuters.com


Archaeologists in Cyprus have discovered what they believe could be the oldest evidence yet that organized groups of ancient mariners were plying the east Mediterranean, possibly as far back as 14,000 years ago.

The find, archaeologists told Reuters on Wednesday, could also suggest the island of Cyprus, tucked in the northeast corner of the Mediterranean and about 30 miles away from the closest land mass, may have been gradually populated about that time, and up to 2,000 years earlier than previously thought.

"This is a major breakthrough in terms of the study of early Cyprus archaeology and the origins of seafaring in the Mediterranean," Pavlos Flourentzos, director of Cyprus's Department of Antiquities, told Reuters.

The discovery at a coastal site on the island's northwest has revealed chipped tools submerged in the sea and made with local stone which could be the earliest trace yet of human activity in Cyprus.

U.S. and Cypriot archaeologists conducting the research have known since 2004 that Cyprus was used by small groups of voyagers on hunting expeditions for pygmy elephants.

But the newly discovered expanse of the Aspros dig in the Akamas peninsula, which stretches into the sea, suggests the site held larger numbers of people, possibly for months.

"It shows that activity is much more organized than some isolated visit," said Tom Davis, director of the Cyprus American Archaeological Research Institute (CAARI) in Nicosia.

Flourentzos and Davis said the new find told archaeologists nomads knew the island well enough to find tool material, suggesting they were repeat visitors.

Archaeologists say the first human settlements in Cyprus date from 10,000 BC and are located inland. Logically, the coastal settlements should be older, and in Aspros dig case where a good deal of it is now in the sea, possibly up to 2,000 years older.

"We are trying to verify through carbon dating on bones in the area that this find is more ancient, possibly another 2,000 years," said Flourentzos, who co-directed the research project with Albert J Ammerman, an archaeologist at Colgate University in Hamilton, New York.

Virtually nothing is known about Mediterranean mariners of the era. There is a widely held belief they never ventured into open seas because of limited navigational abilities.

"We are looking at repeated activity here, it is more than a handful of people. For the first time in the east Mediterranean we are talking about serious sea-voyaging," said Davis.

"This was not a case of one guy, or a family blown off course. This is a number of persons coming to Cyprus, these were conscious, repeated visits," Davis said.

Article from: http://www.reuters.com/article/lifestyleMolt/idUSL1887847220070718



Related Articles
Ancient mariner tools found in Cyprus
Phoenician temple found in Sicily


Latest News from our Front Page

Agenda 21: The BLM Land Grabbing Endgame
2014 04 23
Why is the federal government so obsessed with grabbing more land? After all, the federal government already owns more than 40 percent of the land in 9 different U.S. states. Why are federal bureaucrats so determined to grab even more? Well, the truth is that this all becomes much clearer once you understand that there is a ...
Fukushima radiation killing children, government hiding the truth
2014 04 22
Katsutaka Idogawa, former mayor of Futaba, a town near the disabled Fukushima nuclear plant, is warning his country that radiation contamination is affecting Japan’s greatest treasure - its children. Asked about government plans to relocate the people of Fatuba to the city of Iwaki, inside the Fukushima prefecture, Idogawa criticized the move as a "violation of human rights." Compared with Chernobyl, radiation ...
Why your fingerprints may not be unique
2014 04 22
Assumption that everyone has a unique fingerprint from which they can be identified through a computer database is flawed, says Home Office expert Mike Silverman Fingerprint evidence linking criminals to crime scenes has played a fundamental role in convictions in Britain since the first forensic laboratory was set up in Scotland Yard in 1901. But the basic assumption that everyone has a ...
Asteroids cause dozens of nuclear-scale blasts in Earth’s atmosphere
2014 04 22
Asteroids caused 26 nuclear-scale explosions in the Earth’s atmosphere between 2000 and 2013, a new report reveals. Some were more powerful – in one case, dozens of times stronger – than the atom bomb blast that destroyed Hiroshima in 1945 with an energy yield equivalent to 16 kilotons of TNT. Most occurred too high in the atmosphere to cause any serious damage ...
‘Editing DNA’ to eliminate genetic conditions now a reality
2014 04 22
Scientists have employed a revolutionary genome-editing computer technique that accurately identifies one faulty genetic “letter” among billions and effortlessly repairs a genetic condition in animals, paving way for human trials. The success, by MIT in Boston, is the latest achievement in the field of genome editing that has been catapulted into the spotlight through a technology that can pinpoint genetic faults ...
More News »