Early seafaring: Sicily later populated as previously thought

Di Maida SicilyIt is a complex archaeological task to prove when and where our ancestors crossed the seas. So far, it has been suggested that people belonging to the Paleolithic culture of the Aurignacian Mountains (ca. 38,000 to 29,000 BC) were the first one who crossed the Strait of Messina between the Italian mainland and Sicily.

A study conducted by a team of international scientists from various disciplines has re-examined the site and performed radiocarbon dating on plant remains and human teeth. Gianpiero Di Maida of the Graduate School "Human Development in Landscapes" and Professor Ben Krause Kyora of the Institute of Clinical Molecular Biology, Kiel University (Kiel University), refute the previous theory of colonization history in Sicily: The age determined by the dates is between 7960 and 6530 BC, much later than previously assumed, thus assigning the finds to the Holocene. It seems that Fontana Nuova was inhabited not by Paleolithic but by Mesolithic hunter-gatherers.

press release (in German) 

Original publication: Di Maida G., Mannino M.A., Krause-Kyora B., Jensen T.Z.T., Talamo S. (2019) Radiocarbon dating and isotope analysis on the purported Aurignacian skeletal remains from Fontana Nuova (Ragusa, Italy). PLoS ONE 14(3): e0213173. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0213173

 

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