Cretan tools point to 130,000-year-old sea travel

January 3, 2011 in Other Sciences / Archaeology & Fossils
An picture provided by the Greek Ministry of Culture shows stone tools found on Crete. Greek and American archaeologists on the island say the tools, which they believe are at least 130,000 years old, show that early humans could navigate across open water thousands of years earlier than previously thought.

Greece's culture ministry says archaeologists on the island of Crete have discovered what may be evidence of one of the world's earliest sea voyages by humans.

A ministry statement says from Greece and the U.S. have found rough and other tools thought to be between 130,000 and 700,000 years old in shelters on the island's south coast.

Crete has been separated from the mainland for about five million years, so whoever made the tools must have traveled there by sea (a distance of at least 40 miles).

An undated handout picture provided by the Greek Ministry of Culture shows stone tools found on southwestern Crete island. Archaeologists on the Greek island of Crete have found startling evidence that early humans were capable of navigation at least 130,000 years ago, the Greek culture ministry said.

The previous earliest evidence of open-sea travel in Greece dates back 11,000 years (worldwide, about 60,000 years - although considerably earlier dates have been proposed).

The ministry said Monday it is to conduct a more thorough of the area.

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"Cretan tools point to 130,000-year-old sea travel" January 3, 2011