Monday, September 5, 2011
Volcanic artifacts imply ice-age mariners in prehistoric Greece
Mariners may have been traveling the Aegean Sea even before the end of the last ice age, according to new evidence from researchers, in order to extract coveted volcanic rocks for pre-Bronze Age tools and weapons.
A new technique which dates obsidian -- volcanic glass which can be fashioned into tools -- suggests that people were mining for obsidian in Mediterranean waters and shipping the once valuable rocks from the island of Melos in modern day Greece as far back as 15,000 years ago.
"Obsidian was a precious natural rock-glass found only in Melos, some in [the modern-day Greek areas of] Antiparos and Yali," explained Nicolaos Laskaris of the University of the Aegean in Greece. "From there it was spread all over the Aegean and in the continent too through contacts of trade."
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