Akamas, Cyprus — Archaeologists excavating the seabed off Cyprus have discovered the tools of ancient mariners, which they believe were used by foragers more than 12,000 years ago.
The underwater discovery of what archaeologists said were the oldest materials recovered off the island's coast could shed fresh light on the early history of Cyprus and Mediterranean seafaring.
Earlier this month, divers located the pre-Neolithic finds — chipped stone tools and ground stone implements — in several areas off the western coast, near Aspros, an archaeological site discovered in 2004.
The most significant finds were located in water about 33 feet deep and about 330 feet offshore.
Aspros, along with a similar site also discovered in 2004 at the tourist resort of Agia Napa in southeastern Cyprus, lies on a coastal formation of aeolianite — old cemented sand dunes.
The archaeologists believe that tools found at the two sites were used by seafaring foragers — before the first permanent settlers arrived around 8,200 B.C.
The dawn of seafaring in the region has been put at around 9500 B.C. from evidence found 20 years ago at Aetokremnos, on Cyprus' southern Akrotiri peninsula.
The era in question coincided with a climatic cold snap known as the Younger Dryas — dated roughly 11,600-12,800 years ago — when the sea level was some 200-230 feet lower.
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Stone Age tools found on Cyprus
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