Primitive Humans Conquered Sea, Surprising Finds Suggest
Prehistoric axes found on a Greek island suggest that seafaring existed in the Mediterranean more than a hundred thousand years earlier than thought.
Two years ago a team of U.S. and Greek archaeologists were combing a gorge on the island of Crete (map) in Greece, hoping to find tiny stone tools employed by seafaring people who had plied nearby waters some 11,000 years ago.
Instead, in the midst of the search, Providence College archaeologist Thomas Strasser and his team came across a whopping surprise—a sturdy 5-inch-long (13-centimeter-long) hand ax.
Knapped from a cobble of local quartz stone, the rough-looking tool resembled hand axes discovered in Africa and mainland Europe and used by human ancestors until about 175,000 years ago. This stone tool technology, which could have been useful for smashing bones and cutting flesh, had been relatively static