Crete again, again, again

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Julien Riel-Salvatore has written more about the supposed Middle Paleolithic-age stone tools from Crete: “The final (?) word on those handaxes from Crete”.

First, on the basis of the drawing of the handaxes, these implements do appear to be human-made. Second, they are not isolated occurrences: the authors identified nine localities where these quartz tools were found, only three of which also yielded Mesolithic tools. This leaves open the possibility that the 'Paleolithic' sites represent task-specific components of the Mesolithic toolkit on Crete, but this is unlikely based on the association of handaxes with some of the terrace deposits described in the quote above. Third, as the authors indicate, this was not a case of a H. heidelbergensis (or a couple of them) washing onto Crete: the fact that nine sites (defined by the presence of a minimum of 20 stone tools) were found in a relatively small area indicates a somewhat sustained human presence on the southern coast of Crete.

The comments have generated a lively discussion of the possibility that these are eoliths – flaked by natural processes – and how one would tell.