Hints of man's earliest voyages

By Gina Macris - Projo


A team of archaeologists led by Thomas F. Strasser, an associate professor of art history at Providence College, has made discoveries in Crete that suggest man’s predecessors had the ability to navigate the seas much earlier than the first known voyage 60,000 years ago.

Strasser’s team, working under the auspices of the Greek Ministry of Culture, found Stone Age tools at least 130,000 years old on the southern coast of Crete two summers ago — discoveries that were made public only last month.

The presence of the tools on Crete — an island for 5 million years — implies that the predecessors of Homo sapiens had the ability to navigate the seas.

“This was a life-changing experience,” he said of the expedition to Plakias, a tourist spot on the southwest coast of Crete.

One day, at Preveli Gorge just outside the town, team member Curtis Runnels, a professor of archaeology at Boston University, was talking to a few PC students in the group about the materials and methods of Stone Age toolmaking.

Runnels’ wife picked up a piece of quartz and put it in her husband’s pocket so he would have raw material for a later tool-making demonstration he had planned.

Back at their lodgings, the rock lay on a balcony table as a paperweight for a day or so.


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Thomas F. Strasser Providence College Crete Greek Ministry of Culture Curtis Runnels Boston University