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H 245 x W 175 mm

263 pages

117 figures (colour throughout)

Published Feb 2016

Archaeopress Archaeology


Paperback: 9781784911430

Digital: 9781784911447

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Argonauts of the Stone Age

Early maritime activity from the first migrations from Africa to the end of the Neolithic

By Andrzej Pydyn

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This book gives a full account of stone age seafaring presenting the archaeological evidence in the context of the changing world environment and uses ethnographic sources to broaden the readers understanding of the worlds earliest sea craft.



Introduction ;

1. Lower Palaeolithic seafarers – the oldest evidence of migration and sea-crossing ;
Homo ergaster/Homo erectus and Out of Africa ;
The first colonisation of Europe ;
The first crossing of the sea ;

2. Middle Palaeolithic seafarers – the Neanderthal and the sea ;
The European world of the Neanderthals ;
The Neanderthal residents of the Mediterranean area ;
The Neanderthals’ submerged world ;
Beyond the European seas ;

3. Upper and Final Palaeolithic seafarers – the expansion of modern humans ;
The first Mediterranean seagoing of modern humans ;
Final Palaeolithic and Mesolithic – intensification of seafaring in the Mediterranean Basin ;
Travelling northwards – modern humans on the coasts of Western and Northern Europe ;
Towards new continents ;

4. Maritime activity of Mesolithic communities in Northern Europe ;
Maritime contacts within the Atlantic zone ;
Between the North Sea and the Baltic ;
The earliest settlements of the islands of the central and eastern Baltic Sea ;

5. Neolithic voyagers – farmers of the sea ;
The first farmers at sea – development of the Neolithic in the eastern part of the Mediterranean Sea ;
Seafarers of cardium-impresso culture ;
Boats of the first farmers ;
Farmers of the Atlantic ;
Travelling eastwards ;

6. Early forms of water transport ;
Floats ;
Rafts ;
Skin boats ;
Bark boats ;
Reed boats and other lashed vessels ;
Logboats ;
Simple plank boats ;

Conclusion ;



‘…Pydyn makes a compelling case that pre-Homo sapiens may have utilized water transport technology. Even the use of natural floats was perhaps “culturally enriched,” meaning that our ancestors consciously affected the direction of drifting or floating. He also argues that studies of early maritime activity have demonstrated the research potential of the continental shelf, because many Paleolithic and Neolithic sites are likely underwater… Argonauts of the Stone Age is a well-illustrated and engaging addition to the recent volumes on early seafaring and maritime activities.’ – Katelyn Dibenedetto (2017), Journal Of Eastern Mediterranean Archaeology And Heritage Studies