Neanderthal seafarers’ artifacts found on Crete?

crete

Blue Marble image by NASA

A team of archaeologists and researchers on the Greek island  of Crete has made a series of startling discoveries that could shake the foundations of archaeological knowledge far beyond the Mediterranean. Some 30 primitive stone axes have been found in several different sites that resemble Paleolithic tools used in Europe some 175,000 years ago by pre-humans. Citing a paper to be published in June in the Journal of the American School of Classical Studies at Athens, Greece – my alma mater – National Geographic relates:

…Crete has been surrounded by vast stretches of sea for some five million years. The discovery of the hand ax suggests that someone besides technologically modern humans—perhaps Neanderthals, Homo heidelbergensis, Homo erectus, or primitive Homo sapiens—island-hopped across the Mediterranean for tens of millennia….

Maps of the coastal shelves suggest that even when the Mediterranean reached its lowest known point, plummeting some 440 feet (144 meters) below current sea level, people leaving from Turkey or Greece would have had to make three separate water crossings ranging from 12 to 24 miles (19 to 39 kilometers) each to reach Crete. If, on the other hand, the seafarers departed from Africa, they would have voyaged over 125 miles (200 kilometers) of open water….

The picture being developed is that a primitive human ancestor was able to travel by sea over 150,000 years ago – a capacity that has not been suggested before. As Nat Geo further remarks:

It’s been thought that the early humans of this time period were not capable of devising boats or even simple rafts—technology considered an expression of modern behavior. Homo sapiens practicing modern behaviors, such as wearing jewelry and making art didn’t begin to appear until around a hundred thousand years ago.

But the new discoveries hint that these human ancestors were capable of much more sophisticated planning, cooperation, and construction—in this case, boatbuilding—than their simple stone tools would suggest.

In addition to this amazing development is the fact stated here by Nat Geo about the Mediterranean Sea having been over 400 feet lower in times when humans could have navigated it. That fact brings up an intriguing question of what could be under the Mediterranean? What archaeological treasures may have been created thousands of years ago, only to be flooded under hundreds of feet of sea?

Indeed, it has been rumored for years that there are submerged ruins ringing the Mediterranean from one or more civilizations long forgotten, perhaps not unlike the evidently manmade remains found off the coast of Okinawa. What is also striking is how much further back paleoanthropologists have pushed the emergence of homo sapiens sapiens over the past several decades, going from some 30,000 years ago to 100,000 to 200,000 and more. What more will be found that reveals the history of mankind on planet Earth is far older and more interesting than we have previously imagined?

Source & Further Reading

Primitive Humans Conquered Sea, Surprising Finds Suggest
Lost Cities & Ancient Mysteries of Africa & Arabia

29 Comments

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  1. This is an amazing story, I can’t wait for Nat Geo to produce a documentary on this.
    It’s also quite sad that instead of seeing news like this in mainstream media I had to witness the piece on Tiger Woods pseudo press conference over and over.

  2. Sea levels
    Many researchers, past and present, as well as ancient traditions, believe that sea levels in the not-so-distant past were much lower than today. Traditionally, the Nile was believed to flow to the Atlantic through the Mediterranean depression. When rising sea levels at the end of the glacial period broke through Gibralter it flooded most of the depression submerging many of the population centers that existed at that time. Thus creating many of the submerged sites evident today.

  3. Perceptions: Foreigners-Heretics-Monsters
    The lecture was delivered on February 29, 2000, at Hood College, MD, by Professor Debra Higgs Strickland of the University of Edinburgh, where she is currently a research fellow at the Institute for Advanced Studies in the Humanities.

    Before the Titanic, before the Mayflower, and before the Nina, Pinta, and Santa Maria, common belief held that if a ship sailed to the end of the world, it would fall off. But what might these wayward seafarers encounter before their doomed vessel faltered into the abyss? Such foolish interlopers surely would meet up with a virtual phalanx of various monstrous races, their features as distorted as their souls. With Jerusalem perceived as being smack dab in the center of the world, the farther good Christians strayed from the Holy Land, the closer they came to the unknown and therefore, ungodly, races. Ignorance fueled the medieval imagination at the unfortunate expense of foreign cultures, particularly those of Muslim, Jewish, and central Asian origins.

    “Tartar, Jews and Saracens: Images of the Other in the Later Middle Ages” was the third in a lecture series sponsored by Hood College in Frederick, Md., which explored 13th century perceptions of the unknown and exotic. The lectures featured prominent medieval scholars, including Professor Debra Higgs Strickland of the University of Edinburgh. The easiest way to begin understanding 13th century attitudes toward non-Christian cultures from a modern-day perspective is to visualize the medieval world as a series of concentric circles, Strickland explained. The center circle encompassed “us,” the next circle included “barbarians”, and the outer ring was reserved for “disorder, fears and fantasies”.

    Non-Christians generally were lumped into the “barbarians” group (so named because the language of tribal societies sounded like “bar-bar-bar” to “civilized” ears). Farthest from the center, and farthest from personal 13th century experience, lived the “monstrous races” — distorted perceptions of unknown populations, coexisting with the disorder, fears, and fantasies of the medieval psyche, Strickland noted. These included: headless Blemyes (who had two eyes embedded in their chests), Sciapods, whose single large webbed foot doubled as an umbrella, four-eyed “maritime Ethiopians,” men with horse hooves, dog heads or a single enormous protruding lip, and the three-faced Ambaris.

    Many of these human-beasts were incorporated into the “Hereford Map”, a highly conceptual blueprint based not on factual data but on myths, legends, and biblical tales. The map’s creators, working in the 1280’s, envisioned the world as a disc, and rotated north, east, south and west 90 degrees counterclockwise. Slightly above Jerusalem, Christ’s crucifixion is depicted at Mount Calvary, along with numerous other biblical tales, such as Adam and Eve’s expulsion from the Garden of Eden, Abraham, Lot’s wife, the Tower of Babel, the Israelites’ journey from Egypt, and the nativity. The Black, Aegean and Mediterranean seas flow into one another in a sort of an incomplete “T,” with Sicily located directly below Crete, and Italy, France and Spain part of the same land mass. Spotted throughout the map are mythical creatures, such as unicorns, coexisting with real animals including rhinos, ostriches, and leopards. Most of the freaks are relegated to the map’s outer perimeter.

    The ancient Greeks measured a group’s degree of civilization and humanity by its societal practices, political organization, religion, diet, dress, marriage rites and language, Strickland explained. In the late Middle Ages, the more these factors differed from Christian practices, the more barbaric, deformed, and godless the culture. Popular belief held that “other” races (those on the earth’s perimeter) were naked, hairy-bodied, forest dwelling, cannibalistic, sexually perverted monsters.

    During the Crusades when Christians fought to regain the Holy Land from the Muslims, Christians pejoratively referred to Muslims as “Saracens”, and often painted a fictitious portrait of that race. One 13th century artist depicted an insulting image of Mohammed on top of a pig falling in a dung heap and being smothered by the swine (this was particularly offensive as pork is considered sacrilege by practicing Muslims). According to Christian belief at the time, the manner of death was a direct reflection of that individual’s, and his followers’ soul.

    Just as the Muslims were a political and religious threat to the Christian community, Jews posed an additional economic threat to the populace. Jews were visible within the Christian society, although as a despised minority they were forced to live in designated areas of Western European cities, Strickland noted. While prohibited from pursuing various occupations, Jews were allowed to function as moneylenders, which in turn stereotyped them as indulging in the sins of usury and greed. This was reinforced by having to wear round badges resembling coins on their outer garments. Jews were perceived as being responsible for Christ’s death. When Judas betrayed Christ for thirty pieces of silver (another contributing factor to the “money bag” image), his sin was believed to have made the whole Jewish population and successive generations responsible for his actions. The falsehood that Jews sprouted horns (thus aligning them with the devil) likely originated from a mistranslation. Jews portrayed Moses as having rays of light emanating from his head. The Hebrew words for “light” and “horn” are very similar, thus the transference. Other physical stereotypes of Jews, as well as Muslims, included dark skin, distorted, and exaggerated profiles and menacing grimaces. Medieval paintings showed Jews stabbing the host (which represented the body of Christ), killing a lamb (another Christ image), and generally working in league with the devil. Such unrelenting propaganda resulted in scores of pogroms against Jews, and their expulsion from England, France, Germany, Italy, and Spain. By 1500, there were hardly any Jews left in Western Europe.

    The most distant “other” race that plagued Medieval Europe was the Mongol or “Tartar” (the name derives from the “infernal regions”). This central Asian people invaded Europe in 1237. Like the bestial quasi-humans of the Hereford Map’s outer circumference, they were viewed as physically ugly, sexually depraved, and cannibalistic.

    Most of these stereotypes derived not only from the fear of “what’s out there”, but what was already established in the Europe of the late Middle Ages. There were fears of personal sexuality, the intellectual integrity of Christianity, and fear of Christian conversion to Islam and Judaism, Strickland said. This, combined with the misinterpretation of beliefs and practices of different races unfortunately branded countless individuals who paid for such ignorance with their lives.

    Suggested readings: John Block Friedman, “The Monstrous Races in Medieval Art and Thought” (Harvard University Press, 1981). Friedman, “Medieval Trade, Travel and Exploration: An Encyclopedia” (Garland Press, 1998). Debra Higgs Strickland, “Medieval Bestiaries: Text, Image, Ideology” (Cambridge University Press, 1995). Strickland (editor), “The Mark of the Beast: The Medieval Bestiary in Art, Life and Literature” (Garland Press, 1999). Daniel Weiss, “Arts and Crusade in the Age of Saint Louis (Cambridge University Press, 1988).
    Course Guide 251 Home Page Grade Record Form Diane Thompson

  4. suppressed history
    …this article hardly scratches the surface. The index from “the Great library of Alexandra” listed a book that the late Carl Sagan would of given his life for ( excuse the pun)
    ” THE LAST 100 000 YEARS OF HUMAN HISTORY”
    What about the work of Robert Ballard, the guy who discovered the Titanic. He discovered 100s of sunken cities in the Mediterranean Sea. Using the starting point that the ocean levels were 300 feet lower during the ice age, he drew a line marking this depth on a map of the med, and made countless discoveries. And this was just in the med. Have a good look at google earth. The continental shelf is the coast line of old earth. Look how far we have come in 300 years…image the level of civilization after 100 000! Everything in our history books needs to be thrown out!!!!!!!!!!

  5. Race
    Arthur,

    The humans who created these tools did so well before racial differentiation took place. So, basic reasoning tells you that they were in fact “black Afrcian”

  6. This story will really confuse many of my neighbors in Texas. According to a recent poll, 30% of them think the dinasaurs were roaming the earth along with Adam and Eve about 10,000 years ago. But for those of us who can face reality, this is a great story, I’m with JH, waiting for NGC to get a documentary made.

    1. Not reality, but rather a series of theories supported by hypotheses, theories and broken metrics. If anything, this “discovery” provides empirical evidence contrary to popular anthropogenic theory. We’re so over-inundated with theories that we begin to lose sight of the facts. The fact is that there is no convincing empirical evidence to support the theory of human evolution…period.

  7. “The motion of the stars calculated by the Hindus before some 4500 years vary not even a single minute from the tables of Cassine and Meyer (used in the 19-th century). The Indian tables give the same annual variation of the moon as the discovered by Tycho Brahe – a variation unknown to the school of Alexandria and also to the Arabs who followed the calculations of the school… “The Hindu systems of astronomy are by far the oldest and that from which the Egyptians, Greek, Romans and – even the Jews derived from the Hindus their knowledge.”

    Not to mention math and language.

    A millennium before Europeans were wiling to divest themselves of the Biblical idea that the world was a few thousand years old, the Mayans were thinking of millions and the Hindus billions. – Carl Sagan

    “Access to the Vedas is the greatest privilege this century may claim over all previous centuries” – Robert Oppenheimer

    I go into the Upanishads to ask questions. – Niels Bohr

    The Hindu religion is the only one of the world’s great faiths dedicated to the idea that the Cosmos itself undergoes an immense, indeed an infinite, number of deaths and rebirths. It is the only religion in which the time scales correspond, to those of modern scientific cosmology. Its cycles run from our ordinary day and night to a day and night of Brahma, 8.64 billion years long. Longer than the age of the Earth or the Sun and about half the time since the Big Bang. And there are much longer time scales still. – Carl Sagan

    When I read the Bhagavad Gita and reflect about how God created this universe everything else seems so superfluous. – Albert Einstein

    1. Hindus
      Hinduism is the decadent form of the original spirituality of the Aryans.

      Aryan=Cro-Magnon
      Semite=Neanderthal

      Rome vs. Jerusalem now as always.

  8. HUMAN AGE
    Kalidas
    When I first saw the “mysterious origins of man”, a so called pro ceationist doco, I had to get the book.

    It blew me away and ever since I have followed the theory that humans have been here for a very, very long time. Graham Hancock has stated that we are not the peak of all what went before, but are just another civilisation that one day will devolve (as we are) and all knowledge will be lost.

    Anonymous
    Great quotes there

  9. And the truth is
    that homo sapiens has a billion plus year history, that our (Caucasian race) ancestors originated from the Lyra Constellation, (which they departed 22 million years ago, with beryond light speed tech), that a people that share these ancestors live 500 light years distant in the Pleiades, on Planet Erra, that they are 1500 years ahead of us on tech., are in open, civilian. one on one contact with us, and so forth.

    Fantasy?

    Go to http://www.theyfly.com and realize the fantasy comes from the pseudo-anthropoligists/archeologists etc.

  10. Neanderthals in Crete
    1- In the time of the Neanderthals, Edurope and the rest of the world looked completely different than it is today. The coastlines, and lakes. Crete is a chunk of Europe, and attached to the land. And so were the islands we know of today. Italy was attached to the rest of Europe, and the Mediterranean was NOT there. The part of today’s North Africa, was a vast lake. Ther’s evidence of that because of the vast aquafers under the Sahara, etc.

    2- What if it were Cro Magnon Man who fashioned the tool? It must have been, rather than the different species, Neanderthal. Cro Magnon was more advanced, even more than today’s Humans.

    Just because it was thousands of yrs ago, doesn’t mean we’re more advanced.

    Again, in fact, that we, Humans, today, have de-volved.

  11. Aryans
    Rex, Aryan is not a race.
    Aryan is a way of life.

    “It is often considered that the Vedic Aryans are a race of people. Aryan actually means a standard of living, an ideal. It was the Sanskrit speaking people of thousands of years ago that gave the word arya to signify a gentleman, an ideal person, someone on the path of purity. It was a term meant for those who were on the cutting edge of social evolution. Another way of interpreting the word aryan is that ar also means white or clear. Ya refers to God. Ya also refers to Yadu, or Krishna. Thus, aryan means those who have, or are developing, a clear path or a clear consciousness toward God.”
    -Stephen Knapp

  12. We still have them living here in England, walking the streets, drinking, fighting and beating people up, living on council benefits and generally f*cking the country up for the rest of us.

  13. bigtime
    This may be the people that is smart enough to see the real truth, The people that work for the goverment tell is people out here that people came to the americas over the mountains and ice 8 to 12000 years ago and populated the whole of this place. I have emailed archaeologest how stupid we are to believe this lie and they never answer just pass it off like water on a ducks back. I think we evolved just like the other primates all over the world, I have thought they would tell us that they came over the ice like humans but they have not told us that yet. The primates that live in the americas are just as diveresed as the humans who live from the frozen north to the tip of south america. why do they tell us that a very small group of people came north out of africa and populated the whole earth and changed from what ever race they were and they changed to all of the races of people on the earth in that short time? why the big lie and why do they think we will believe that? but all of the goverment archelogest tell us that even the goverment archelogest in europe why the big lie?? bill davidson @ penutt88@hotmail.com

  14. Not all is what it first seems to be
    This lends support to my old contention :idea: that a prosperous civilization once existed in what we now call the Meditarranean — rich arable land between rocky frigid Europe and arrid north Africa.

    Just to set the cat among the pigeons :evil: visit: edconrad.com

  15. these anthropologists are so driven to make conclusions that fit with their program, humans have been around alot longer than 175thousand years which you dont believe so you say a evolutioanlry homo erectus made boats and sailed or drifted around the meditaranean based on soem stione axes you cant account for due to your constricted program and its time line.

    I would like to know wehen you guysare gonna pull of your world shaking archeological discovery that will shake the foundations of the wghole world,in your attempt to make religion and god a meaningless fairy tale.

    I only see attacks on christians and islam never jews or others, hindoos were killing christians last week if they didnt convert on the spotall religions do this sh*tthoswe christians who masacred were brainwshed and used by the ptb to do such things religions are such a well you tell me all i kniow is judaism is the worst onme and it is a parasitic hateful and debached religion of maximum evility and these dyas people are unawqre of its nasty influence in every facet off their lives and even forming their outloook abnd programming them with out their awareness.thats whi coem here to keep things equal when ever damn the xians triple damn the jews.

  16. Early human history, and all the mysteries it entails is extremely interesting. Assuming that the geologists have their dating correct, regarding the levels of the ocean, this does pose a fascinating mystery.

    It’s possible, that the humaniods that created these axes, were not actually Neanderthals, but just happened to create stone axes in a like manner. But of course, it’s very difficult to find corroberating archeological evidence, which might be further suggest that these stone artifacts were indeed produced by Neanderthals.

    But I don’t see any reason to suppose, that humaniods would not have been able to figure out how to craft a sea-worthy boat, thousands of years ago. Consider how quickly we have advanced in the last 1000 years. How many civilizations could have risen and collasped in 300,000 years? Nature does have a way of destroying the evidence rather quickly.

  17. pre history
    A better description of our pre history would be to term it The World of The Second Law. Order proceeds to disorder. Anthropomorphism allows us to view our civilization as apex when it is merely a minimized and constrained form of the previous expanded one.
    Consider J Custeau found submerged caves openings with middens of shell in the Med hundreds of feet down. Our ascent would more appropriately be a description A Einstein attributed to a nuclear war result: the next war would be fought with rocks.

  18. Axes on Crete and sea travel.
    Agreed with aqua archaeologists working around the coast of Crete looking for Minoan ships Crete is an island that just keeps on giving.
    Good luck to all who work tirelessly to uncover the past ancient world.
    Plato spoke of ATLANTIS but to most Greeks of his day Crete and Thera were looked upon as backwaters of the Greek world.

    However after the discoveries on both islands of Minoan buildings and palaces and evidence gained by Solon on his visit to Sais in EGYPT where men from Crete had visited and the priests of Sais had recorded the Minoans existence anything is possible.

    keep searching and researching
    d.b.

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