Sunday, December 2, 2012

Sicily

“Analysis of skeletal remains found in an island cave in Favignana, Italy, has revealed that modern humans first settled in Sicily around the time of the last Ice Age and despite living on islands, ate little seafood.”

This from Sci-news.com 2/12/12; “Study Reveals Origins and Food Habits of First Sicilians”

An interesting, anomalous finding. The dates we’re talking about are “19,000-26,500 years ago when sea levels were low enough to expose a land bridge between the island and the Italian peninsula,” according to Dr. Marcello Mannino of the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology, lead author.

It’s hard to know how to place this study in the context of such early findings of human habitation on Crete, dating back more than 100,000 years. Why such a radical difference for two Mediterranean islands, especially when Crete is so much farther from the mainland? All people getting to Crete had to do so by boat/raft of some sort. If they could get to Crete, why not Favignana?

The abstract says: “This dietary change was similar in scale to that at sites on mainland Sicily and in the rest of the Mediterranean.” I’m not sure what they mean by “scale.” This was said in the context of a “slight increase in marine food consumption from the late Pleistocene to the early Holocene.” I don’t know if the authors are saying that the rest of the Mediterranean peoples ate a meat-heavy diet, as well, or that the shift in diets was slight in the rest of the Mediterranean, too.

Is this true of the folks on Crete, too? What did they eat? And where did they sail from? There are so many parts of the story yet to be filled in. Has anyone done a dietary comparison for all fossil remains? What do we think those piths and erecti were eating?

Who were these Sicilians? Where did they come from?

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