Curtis N. Runnels

Cotsen Summer Scholar


The Lower Palaeolithic on the Greek Islands and Its Implications for Early Hominin Dispersals

Curtis N. RunnelsCurtis N. RunnelsPhotograph by Jason S. Ordaz Curtis N. RunnelsPhotograph by Jason S. Ordaz 

Lower Palaeolithic Acheulean lithics from the Greek island of Crete are the first to be found on a Mediterranean island dated by association with geologic contexts. The assemblage dates to the end of the Middle Pleistocene but may be earlier. The Greek islands were perhaps reached by early hominins at some point during the Middle Pleistocene by crossing open water over distances of ca. 40 km. In this project, the reported evidence for Palaeolithic habitation of Crete and other Greek islands (e.g., Kephalinia, Melos, Corfu, Zakynthos) is re-evaluated to assess the evidence for a Lower Palaeolithic presence. A substantial presence of Palaeolithic remains on these islands would suggest that Pleistocene hominins may have crossed the Mediterranean as part of a dispersal event ca. 0.8 to 0.4 myr, and that early Out of Africa dispersals may not have been confined entirely to terrestrial routes.

Affiliation at time of award:
Department of Archaeology, Boston University

Sponsored by UCLA Cotsen Institute of Archaeology

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