Journal of Mediterranean Archaeology, Vol 19, No 2 (2006)

The Origins and Early Development of Mediterranean Maritime Activity

Cyprian Broodbank
Issued Date: 10 May 2007


The Mediterranean is one of the world's two earliest foci of maritime activity. Recent discoveries shed new light on the times and places at which such activity began, and on the reasons why it did so. Lower and Middle Palaeolithic data continue to provide inconclusive evidence. Maritime activity remained modest for much of the Upper Palaeolithic (in contrast to Island Southeast Asia and the Pacific), and was perhaps linked to relocations due to adverse environmental conditions. The break-through, in the form of a shift from the use of a littoral resource to the development of longer maritime routes, is attested on Cyprus and in the Aegean, and seems to have taken place during the harsh climate of the Younger Dryas. Subsequently, seafaring in the eastern sub-basins of the Mediterranean became associated with the expansion dynamics of Neolithic groups, and may have been transferred with farming to the centre and west, where prior signs of comparable activity are generally less evident.

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DOI: 10.1558//jmea.2006.v19i2.199


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