10 Jul 2017

   You can see Naxos as a large island in the Cyclades. Presumably at some time this would have all been joined up to Greece itself but sea levels and seismic events have turned this into a lot of small islands. When this might have occurred is central to excavations now taking place at Stelida on Naxos. Tristan Carter and a team of 35 have been digging there for the last 3 years with some surprising results. The McMaster University archaeologist says he has found human made tools that go back 70,000 years. Presumably, these were made by Neanderthals - but with modern human origins being pushed back further and further, who knows. The mystery here is how did Neanderthals get to Naxos if it was an island 70,000 years ago. The finds predate anything found so far on Crete, for example, or Sicily. Did Neanderthals paddle a boat to Naxos? Or was the configuration of the Mediterranean Sea entirely different to what it is now?

Four trenches at Stelida were dug out to 4m depth, where they found evidence of a deep hearth - see ... material from 30,000 to 35,000 years ago has been found at one level, and material dated at 45,000 years ago - and now they have reached 70,000 years ago. How far back in time will human occupation of Stelida go?