Archaic hominins maiden voyage in the Mediterranean Sea
When archaic hominins started sea-crossings and whether or not seas were barriers to their dispersal, is highly debated. This paper attempts to provide insights into these issues, focusing on the Aegean Sea. The study shows that the Central Aegean Island Chain was insular from the surrounding landmasses over the last 450 ka and contests previously available Aegean Sea palaeo-geography. This, in association with the spatiotemporal patterning of Lower and Middle Paleolithic assemblages in the margin of the Mediterranean Sea, implies that pre-sapiens, as early as 450 ka BP: (a) were sea-crossing the Aegean Sea; (b) were encouraged by the favorable land/seascape configuration to attempt sea-crossings and (c) spread to the Circum-Mediterranean basin sourcing from the Levant, following two converging routes, the one via the Aegean Sea and/or the Bosporus land-bridge and the other via the Gibraltar straits. Furthermore, the above presented findings provide substantial evidence that the archaic hominins had developed sea-crossing behaviours as early as 450 ka BP.