Stone Age Seafarers in the Greek Island

Curtis Runnels, Professor, Department of Archaeology, Boston University, and Cotsen Fellow, SAR

Colloquium, SAR Boardroom

Wednesday, June 26, 2013, 12:00–1:00 pm, Free

Our earliest ancestors evolved in Africa and subsequently colonized the Eurasian continent in successive waves, leading to the permanent presence of humans there about one million years ago. Archaeologists have assumed that these dispersals were by land through the Near East and that early humans could not or did not dare to cross large bodies of open water like the Mediterranean. This assumption has been challenged recently by the discovery of evidence on the Greek island of Crete suggesting that humans reached the island soon after they left Africa. These finds, and similar discoveries on other Greek islands, point to the use of boats and raise the possibility that the Mediterranean—and other seas—were open roads rather than barriers to early human movement.

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