Ελληνική ιστορία και προϊστορία

Ελληνική ιστορία και προϊστορία
Ελληνική ιστορία και προϊστορία

Σάββατο, 15 Αυγούστου 2015

Franchthi Cave Argolis Greece - Prehistoric greeks explore by ships Aegean Sea 10.000bc

Franchthi Cave is unique in Greece in having an essentially unbroken series of deposits spanning the period from ca. 20,000 B.C. (and probably even earlier) down to ca. 3000 B.C. This is by far the longest recorded continuous occupational sequence from any one site in Greece. The site itself is located in and immediately outside of a large cave in the southeastern Argolid, across a small bay from the modern Greek village of Koilada. Excavation at the site began in 1967 and ended in 1976. The deepest sounding in the cave is in Trench F/A (over 11 meters of stratified living debris); the earliest homogeneous cultural deposits yet found (of the Upper Paleolithic period) come from Trench H/H1 at a depth of 9 meters.
The dates for the various phases of occupation in the cave are derived from radiocarbon (C-14) analysis of a total of over fifty samples, the largest number of radiocarbon samples from any prehistoric site in Greece. The earliest radiocarbon date is ca. 20,000 b.c. for the Upper Paleolithic, the latest near 3000 b.c. for the Final Neolithic. [All dates cited in this summary are uncalibrated radiocarbon dates (years "{b.c.}") rather than calibrated or calendrical dates (years "{B.C. }").] But the earliest artefactual material is unmistakably Middle Paleolithic, although such material is rare, and the earliest strata to have been excavated in the cave probably date from between 35,000 and 30,000 years ago. Paleolithic (ca. 20,000 – 8300 b.c.)Mesolithic (ca. 8300 – 6000b.c.)Early Neolithic (ca. 6000 – 5000 b.c.)Middle Neolithic (ca. 5000 – 4500 b.c.)Late Neolithic (ca. 4500 – 400 b.c.)Final Neolithic (ca. 4000 – 3000 b.c.)Paleolithic and Mesolithic elsewhere in Greece.
Paleolithic (ca. 20,000 – 8300 b.c.)
Paleolithic (ca. 20,000 – 8300 b.c.) The period is divided into three phases on the basis of major shifts in the relative frequencies of the various animal families (genera) attested among the faunal remains (animal bones): 70% equid (probably wild ass), ca. 30% red deer; also pig, hare, tortoise, birds.40% equid, 25% red deer, 25% large bovid (i.e. cow), 10% large caprine (wild goat?); also a few small fish; fox and mole at the top of this level.70% red deer, 20% or less equid, ca. 10% pig, no large bovid, sporadic caprine at 10% or less; voles appear. Inhabitants of the cave were probably seasonal hunter-gatherers. No certain gathering of plant foods is attested before ca. 11,000 b.c., although large numbers of seeds of the Boraginaceae family may come from plants gathered to furnish soft “bedding” or for the dye which their roots may have supplied. First appearing at ca. 11,000 b.c. are lentils, vetch, pistachios, and almonds. Then ca. 10,500 b.c. and still well within the Upper Paleolithic period appear a few very rare seeds of wild oats and wild barley. Neither wild oats nor wild barley become at all common until ca. 7000 b.c., after which they become a regular and typical feature of the Upper Mesolithic botanical assemblage. At present, there is no evidence for inhabitation of the cave during the winter. The chipped stone industry consists of flint and chert for the most part, although a small amount of obsidian from Melos appears well before the end of the Paleolithic period (ca. 10,900 b.c.); the typical tool is the backed bladelet, a tiny multi-purpose cutting tool, but small end-scrapers (for removing the flesh from hides) are also common. There is no pottery or architecture. No burials have been found.
Mesolithic (ca. 8300 – 6000b.c.) This period is divided into two phases on the basis of shifting frequencies among the animal families (genera) represented by the faunal remains:
(D1) ca. 70% or more red deer, ca. 30% or less pig, no equid or caprine, large bovid scarce; also much fox, hare, and birds; hedgehog appears, mole rat disappears; some small fish bones.
(D2) as for D1, but fish bones increase in number to ca. 20-40% of the total bone assemblage, and these fish are mainly large. The plant remains are much the same as those of the preceding Paleolithic period, with the exceptions that wild pears and a few peas begin to appear ca. 7300 b.c. and that wild oats and barley become common after 7000 b.c. The disappearance of the equid and caprine bones from the faunal assemblage and of seeds of the Boraginaceae family from the botanical assemblage, as well as an increase in the number of pistachios, all taking place ca. 8000 b.c., suggest a change of environment to open forests. There is also the possibility, however, that the change in the animal bones represents a change in the hunting preferences or practices of the cave’s inhabitants. The overall economic picture of the early (or Lower) Mesolithic (D1) is much the same as that of the latest Paleolithic, although there appears to be a hiatus in occupation of some 300-600 years between the latest Palaeolithic deposits in the cave and the earliest Mesolithic materials. The second phase of the Mesolithic (Upper; D2) is characterized by two new developments: (1) the appearance of large quantities of fish bones, particularly those of large fish; (2) the appearance of substantially larger quantities of obsidian from Melos as a material in the local chipped stone industry. These two developments were initially considered to be closely related and to show that the inhabitants of Franchthi Cave not only sailed to Melos (150 kms. away) for obsidian but also fished in deep water for the first time. However, more detailed analysis of the fish bones has shown that the actual number of large fish (probably tuna, for the most part) represented is relatively small; the fish in question might well have been herded into shallow water and clubbed or speared, so their bones need not imply deep-sea fishing. As for the obsidian, its appearance at the cave in small quantities as early as the Upper Paleolithic shows that there need have been no particularly novel developments in the later Mesolithic to explain its presence on the site. The chipped stone industry is now characterized by small, geometrically shaped tools ({microlith}s). There is still no pottery or architecture.
A novel feature in ground stone during both phases of the Mesolithic is the appearance of millstones made of andesite, imported almost certainly by sea from the Saronic Gulf to the north. The earliest burial found at Franchthi is of Lower Mesolithic date: a 25-year-old male buried in a contracted position in a shallow pit near the mouth of the cave. The pit was covered with fist-sized stones; there were no burial goods; the young man had died from blows to the forehead, but he seems to have already been suffering severely from malaria. Further examination in 1989 of the human bone found throughout the cave resulted in the realization that this Mesolithic male burial lay at the top of a deposit of several other, disturbed Mesolithic burials (five inhumations and two cremations) plus fragments of another two to five individuals that are not necessarily the remains of burials. Analysis of the human bone from elsewhere in the cave produced evidence for at least one other Mesolithic burial, this of the Upper Mesolithic phase, in another location, in addition to fragments of another 6 to 25 individuals sprinkled throughout Mesolithic strata within the cave. These bones represent individuals of all age groups (adults, adolescents, infants, neonates) and hence would appear to make the conclusion inescapable that the human groups that occupied the cave during the Mesolithic did so on a permanent basis. Otherwise, the existence of what amounts to a genuine cemetery here, one which accommodated the full spectrum of the social group occupying the cave, is difficult to explain. In his 1995 review of the evidence for the Mesolithic throughout Greece, Runnels argues that the foraging culture of this earliest stage of the Holocene exhibits a number of commonalities wherever it is represented in continental Greece or on the island of Corfu: first, it appears to be unconnected with the preceding Upper Palaeolithic; second, it is manifested at coastal, or near coastal (Kleisoura Gorge in the Argolid), locations only, and is surprisingly absent in some large areas where both preceding Palaeolithic and ensuing Early Neolithic remains are abundantly attested (e.g. eastern Thessaly); third, it exhibits an unusual focus on marine resources and long-distance maritime acquisition networks involving such raw materials as obsidian and andesite, as well as such food resources as tuna; and fourth, it is the first human culture attested in Greece to manifest any concern for the ritualized disposal of its dead. Runnels sees in these various facets of Mesolithic culture grounds for identifying the bearers of Mesolithic culture as an intrusive group approaching the Greek Mainland by water rather than overland and spreading from east (e.g. Franchthi Cave) to west (the open-air site of Sidari on Corfu) during the course of the period. This Mesolithic “colonization” of Greece thus represents for him an episode of demic diffusion from the east that precedes a second such episode about 1500 years later that inaugurates the Neolithic era.

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