Archeology Travel X-Files

Did Earth’s Oldest Sailors Acquire Advanced Maritime Knowledge?

How Did Ancient Humans Acquire Advanced Nautical Knowledge?

Archaeological evidence signifies that anatomically modern humans (AMH) left Africa 100,000 years ago. It has been proved that AMH lived in countries like Arabia, China, Crete, and Brazil over 100,000 years ago. Recent findings made in America and Eurasia indicate that AMH left Africa before 60 thousand years ago to settle in other parts of the world.

The presence of AMH in countries like Brazil and Crete indicate that they were skilled navigators. They used some sailing vessel to reach countries that were thousands of miles away from the African continent.

How Did Ancient Humans Acquire Advanced Nautical Knowledge?People migrating through sea during ancient times. Raft in the Stone Age. Credit: Look and Learn / Barbara Loe Collection (Image Source)

The presence of AMH in countries like Brazil and Crete indicate that they were skilled navigators. They used some sailing vessel to reach countries that were thousands of miles away from the African continent.

Proof of Early Migrations

There are no records that take us back to this archaic period. However, there is some significant archaeological and iconographic evidence from Africa that provides us with inferences about AMH’s ancient sailing ability.

There were many huge lakes during the prehistoric times that were connected by the rivers. These lakes enabled the ancient Africans to sail quickly from North Africa to South Africa. Axel Timmermann, a climate scientist at the University of Hawaii, Manoa states that the climate changes encourage periodic human migration out of Africa every 20,000 years.

How Did Ancient Humans Acquire Advanced Nautical Knowledge?Earth's axis (Image Source)

Dr. Timmermann adds that “the earth’s axis wobbles every 20,000 years and it causes shifts in climate and vegetation especially in the tropical and subtropical regions.” Such fluctuations helped in creating green fertile zones and enabled humans to migrate into Arabia and other countries.

Marine Migration to Brazil

There is evidence that the Africans traveled to Brazil in 100kya*. The evidence consists of tools from the prehistoric era and rock art which was found by Dr. Nieda Guidon.

 

How Did Ancient Humans Acquire Advanced Nautical Knowledge?Ancient rock art found in Brazil (Image Source)

Dr. Guidon claims that Africans were in Brazil between 65kya to 100kya. The old fire tools of human craftsmanship found at the habitation sites confirm the presence of the human population in Brazil around this period.

Nautical Expertise Perfected on the Megalakes

It is believed that sea-crossing migration OOA along with African marine knowledge may have led to perfection on the mega-lake. Earlier, people in Africa were primarily hunter-gatherers and had no boat technology whatsoever.

 

How Did Ancient Humans Acquire Advanced Nautical Knowledge?Sahara Desert (Image Source)

Varied style of crafts found in the Sahara Desert indicate that the Africans made vessels and were capable of sailing through rough waters and even in the ocean. They would have traded and communicated with people living along these vast lakes by using their sailing craft. It is believed that the Africans developed their nautical skill by sailing the mega-lake of Africa.

The African lakes were very long. Mega-Chad is one such freshwater lake which covers around 139,000 sq miles (360,000 sq km). Earlier, Lake Chad emptied in the Atlantic Ocean.

How Did Ancient Humans Acquire Advanced Nautical Knowledge?Lake Chad is a historically large, shallow, endorheic lake in Africa, which has varied in size over the centuries. (Image Source)

Megalake Chad and Megalake Congo states that the Africans could sail from South Africa to North Africa. It is possible that from here they could have sailed up to the Mediterranean Sea, which proves that these skills developed before 130kya.

Migration to Crete and Levant

There was no land route connecting Crete and North Africa 130kya. But an Acheulean toolkit indicates marine travel of North Africans onto Crete. These artifacts provide evidence of an ancient sea-crossing migration out of Africa 130kya. Crete is 200 miles (321.87 km) off the Libyan coast. The hominins supported this migration. Hominins left hearths during their travel. There is extensive archaeological evidence that proves the migration of hominins from the south to the north.

 

How Did Ancient Humans Acquire Advanced Nautical Knowledge?Acheulean toolkit (Image Source)

Many stone tools were recovered from the hearths along the Megalake basin. These stone tools dated from the Neolithic to the Oldowan period. All these indicate that the hominins lived in these areas for over 100,000 years. Africans could not migrate to Europe during the 100 kya period. But the hominin stone tools have a trans-Saharan distribution which allowed them to migrate into the Levant and Southern Europe.

For over 100kya, the AMH of Sub-Saharan African origin entered North Africa. AMH lived in the African Mediterranean coast between 110k to 30kya. During the early 100kya, Africans settled in the Levant. This settlement took place between 70kya to 20kya. Finally, the AMH settlement in the Levant came to an end in 70kya.

* KYA – Thousand Years Ago

featured image:Illustration of an Ancient Phoenician Ship via biblehistory / source

Did Earth’s Oldest Sailors Acquire Advanced Maritime Knowledge?
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