Greece Archaeology – Prehistoric Period Part II

By | January 27, 2022

Also for the problem of the Ancient Ceramic Neolithic, Sesklo (Eneolithic i) has provided useful elements to a recent reconsideration of the problem, thanks to the ample stratigraphic evidence documented by the latest excavations of DR Theocharis: in particular from the comparison with the contemporary ÇCatal Hüyük xii- xi it seems that in the latter ceramic appears in minor quality and quantity. However, the problem of the regional diversity of the most ancient Greek Neolithic ceramics still remains to be framed in a logical dynamic model: in Thessaly we are witnessing an early appearance of painted ceramics (Sesklo Eneolithic ii), while in the northern Greece the oldest pottery is imprinted, in the central Greece the painted pottery has a very late introduction (the imprinted one is absent), in Attica the engraved one (with linear motifs) is typical, in the Peloponnese that ‘ Finally, Knossos remains totally isolated in a particularity that reveals itself at all levels of material culture (especially in the architectural system that sees the very early adoption of unfired brick).

The resumption of the excavations at Dikili Tash, by the pupils of J. Deshayes and in particular by M. Seferiades, made it possible to clarify the paradigmatic role of this site in the Middle and Recent Neolithic of Greece del Nord and Macedonia in particular, through the precise definition of the elements of parallelism with the great Neolithic and Chalcolithic cultures of the Danube area. In Thessaly the excavations at Magula Zarku (1984) made it possible to clarify the succession of ceramic styles of the Recent Neolithic, in particular of the so-called Larissa style (smooth black) which is found together with the gray on gray of the Tsanglì style above the levels of the Middle Neolithic.

But it is above all the resumption of excavations and the recent reinterpretation (Churmuziadis 1979) of the Dimini structures that have contributed to the modification of some functional opinions now considered acquired: it seems in fact that the well-known concentric boundary walls were simply functional to the houses that they they leaned, in a progressive expansion by concentric circles of the inhabited area, rather than conceived for military defense purposes. Dimini was supposed to appear as a large closed-to-the-exterior ‘condominium’, similar to the Neolithic and Chalcolithic villages of the Near East, rather than as a fortified citadel. Even the famous megaron, located in the central courtyard in line with the access ramp, it seems that it should be placed – with all the relative socio-political implications – in the Ancient Bronze and not in the Recent Neolithic, when the original structure did not differ from the typical single-celled or two-celled paratactic plant of neighboring houses.

The passage from the Neolithic to the Bronze Age is another of the fundamental problems of Greek palethnology for which there have been recent attempts at a solution (the main synthesis of the question in Treuil 1983): a ” migrationist ” hypothesis, centered on irradiation in south-eastern Anatolia still seems to be the most probable today when there is a generalized change in the form and place of the settlement. With the exclusion of Thessaly, where there is at least a topographical continuity, all the other Greek regions are in fact exposed to elements of mutation of the material culture such as to lead to enhance the importance of this period as a prologue to the Palatial civilization that characterizes the subsequent phases from the Bronze Age in Greece. i (black and blue Poliochni) in the north-Aegean area, while in Crete the English excavations of Myrtos have already demonstrated the precocious sophistication of the settlement and economic system in the Ancient Minoan. Also in Crete, in Aghià Fotià, a vast (600 m 2) rectangular building was discovered (1986), consisting of 38 rooms and a central paved courtyard, dated Ancient Minoan iii – Middle Minoan i A, for which it was advanced a hypothesis of ” pre-palace ”.

In the Cycladic environment, the excavations of Keos, at Aghià Irini (Coleman 1977), have brought to light a succession of housing and ceramic levels that from the Ancient Bronze to the Recent Bronze and which reveals, within an organic succession of styles ceramics, cultural contacts of considerable interest. The resumption of the excavations at Fylakopì, under the direction of R. Renfrew, was instead aimed at dating the main structures.

In the context of the research relating to the great Cretan palaces, the interest shifted to the functional clarification of the structures and the chronological relationship between the various planimetric elements (see clay: Archeology; festo; mallia; zakros, in this Appendix).

In the Mycenaean context, the German excavations (K. Kilian, in course of publication) in the lower citadel of Tiryns (see in this Appendix) have made it possible to ascertain the continuity of the site from the Ancient Bronze Age, when the city was founded ex novo by removal of the pre-existing Neolithic strata, up to the Recent Bronze Age iii B2.

In general, it is therefore evident that the most recent interest of archaeologists has shifted towards the clarification of structural problems (complexity of planimetric systems and sociofunctional interpretation) and chronological problems (in terms of absolute chronology and the relationship between regional facies). The model of diffusion of cultural elements – in connection with the neighboring Balkan and near-eastern regions – remains however, as forty years ago, the fundamental question for the period from the Mesolithic to the Late Bronze Age.

Greece Archaeology - Prehistoric Period 2