Archaeologists have discovered a set of tools that point to man sailing the seas tens of thousands of years earlier than previously thought.

Rough axes and other tools, thought to be between 130,000 and 700,000 years old, were found close to shelters on the south coast of the Mediterranean island of Crete.

Crete has been separated from the mainland of Greece for about five million years, so whoever made the tools must have travelled there by sea, a distance of at least 40 miles.

The previous earliest evidence was of sea travel was 60,000 years ago and in Greece, it was 11,000 years ago, the Daily Mail reports.

The findings upset the current view that human ancestors migrated to Europe from Africa by land alone.

The Greek culture ministry said that the results of the survey not only provide evidence of sea voyages in the Mediterranean tens of thousands of years earlier than we were aware of so far, but also change our understanding of early hominids’ cognitive abilities.

The tools were found during a survey of caves and rock shelters near the village of Plakias by archaeologists from the American School of Classical Studies at Athens and the culture ministry.

More In: Science | Sci-Tech | News