Olive trees behind the amphitheater at Ancient Aptera in Crete

Archaeologist Anaya Sarpaki explains in On the Olive Routes that olive trees have existed longer than modern humans. For example, wild olive leaf fossils from the Greek island of Evia date back 23 million years. At Santorini, 37,000 to 50,000 year old leaf fossils from the olive species Olea europaea have been discovered in the volcanic crater.