Sunday, July 22, 2007

Trove of Ancient Mariner's Tools found off the coast of Cyprus

University of Colgate’s Albert Ammerman, Olive B. O’Connor Professor in the humanities, and a team of nine researchers recently discovered a trove of ancient mariner tools while excavating a seabed near Cyprus. Divers found the pre-Neolithic artifacts — which included chipped stone tools and ground stone implements — in water about 33 feet deep and about 330 feet offshore of Aspros, an archaeological site discovered in 2004.

Ammerman and his archaeologist colleagues believe the find — which they said consists of the oldest materials found off the island’s coast — could provide significant insight on the early history of Cyprus and Mediterranean seafaring.

According to the article, experts believe the discoveries indicate that ancient Aspros was much larger than the landward section visible today.

“All of what we see on the land is just a tip of the iceberg of what is in the water,” said Ammerman, who served as the director of the survey.

The tools he and his team found are believed to be used by mariners more than 10,000 years ago, before the island had permanent settlers. “These are the people who are the pioneers; without their knowledge, people who came later maybe would not have had it that good,” explained Ammerman

The researchers discovered the implements in aeolianite, a coastal formation of old cemented sand dunes, and are in the process of completing radiocarbon tests to determine their precise age.