Stone Age Seafaring in the Mediterranean: Evidence from the Plakias Region for Lower Palaeolithic and Mesolithic Habitation of Crete

by Thomas F. Strasser, Eleni Panagopoulou, Curtis N. Runnels, Priscilla M. Murray, Nicholas Thompson, Panayiotis Karkanas, Floyd W. McCoy, Karl W. Wegmann

Hesperia, Volume 79, Issue 2
Page(s): 145-190
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/40835484
Year: 2010


A survey in 2008 and 2009 on the southwestern coast of Crete in the region of Plakias documented 28 preceramic lithic sites. Sites were identified with artifacts of Mesolithic type similar to assemblages from the Greek mainland and islands, and some had evidence of Lower Palaeolithic occupation dated by geological context to at least 130,000 years ago. The long period of separation (more than 5,000,000 years) of Crete from any landmass implies that the early inhabitants of Crete reached the island using seacraft capable of open-sea navigation and multiple journeys—a finding that pushes the history of seafaring in the Mediterranean back by more than 100,000 years and has important implications for the dispersal of early humans.