Scientists discover ancient settlement in Cyprus: Much earlier than expected

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New research shows that ancient hunter-gatherers settled in Cyprus thousands of years earlier than previously thought.

According to a study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, early humans arrived on the island during the Pleistocene era, much earlier than scientists had believed.

A team led by Professor Corey Bradshaw from Flinders University found that large Mediterranean islands like Cyprus were appealing destinations for ancient people.

These findings challenge the earlier belief that Mediterranean islands were unreachable and inhospitable for early human societies.

Professor Bradshaw, along with Dr. Theodora Moutsiou, Dr. Christian Reepmeyer, and other researchers, used archaeological data, climate estimates, and demographic modeling to study the early settlement of Cyprus.

They analyzed archaeological evidence from the 10 oldest sites on the island and discovered that the first human occupation occurred between 14,257 and 13,182 years ago.

This is much earlier than previously thought.

The researchers suggest that Cyprus was rapidly settled.

Climate modeling indicated that the island experienced increases in temperature, precipitation, and environmental productivity during this period, making it a suitable place for large hunter-gatherer populations to thrive.

Using demographic modeling, the team concluded that large groups of hundreds to thousands of people arrived on Cyprus in two to three main migration events within less than 100 years.

This rapid settlement suggests organized planning and the use of advanced watercraft.

Within 300 years, or about 11 generations, the population of Cyprus grew to a median of 4,000–5,000 people.

Dr. Moutsiou noted that rather than being inhospitable, Cyprus and possibly other Mediterranean islands would have been attractive destinations for paleolithic hunter-gatherers.

Dr. Reepmeyer explained that previous interpretations of human migration to Cyprus were based on gaps in the archaeological record, including preservation biases, dating uncertainties, and limited DNA evidence.

Their new research, which includes more archaeological evidence and advanced modeling techniques, offers a clearer picture.

Professor Bradshaw emphasized that these findings highlight the need to revisit questions about early human migration in the Mediterranean. He suggested that new technologies, field methods, and data should be used to re-evaluate early settlement dates.

In conclusion, the study reveals that ancient humans settled in Cyprus much earlier than previously believed, showing the island was a desirable place to live due to its favorable climate and resources.

This discovery provides new insights into the patterns of early human migration and settlement in the Mediterranean region.