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Archaeo News 

9 October 2005
Neolithic daily life shown in dig at ancient Greek site

The finds at Avgi in Kastoria (northern Greece) are far from common. At a site of 3.5 hectares near the Aghia Triada municipality, a 7,500-year-old rural community has been unearthed. Rare miniature vessels the size of a ring, nine fine impressive stamps, 20 human and animal-shaped idols, two bone flutes, ornaments made from shell, amber and malachite, stone tools, bones and horns are just some of the finds discovered. The hundreds of finds together constitute a historical archive of a little-known prehistoric period in Greece and the Balkans — the Neolithic period (7000-4000 BCE). The site provides important information about the social relationships developed at that time, how settlements were structured, farming and grazing areas, and the new ideological strategies for survival and reproduction that evolved.
     "The 1,200 square meters at the site has brought to light dense and extremely well-preserved construction remains that will allow us to broach subjects such as size, density and usage of building installations and free spaces,” said excavator Georgia Stratouli, who is in charge of the excavation team of specialists and postgraduate students from prehistoric archaeological departments of Greek and foreign universities.
     The excavators have unearthed sections of a rectangular ground plan and stonework (foundations and upper structures) in at least four buildings measuring from 80 square meters to 30-40 square meters representing two and three construction phases.
     Wooden poles in various arrangements — in a straight line or diagonally positioned in pairs, driven straight into the soil or into prepared shallow trenches measuring 50 centimeters in width — have revealed the techniques applied by builders at that time. The upright poles were tied to each other so as to create a diagonal wooden skeleton and the space in between was then filled in with thick layers of straw to make the walls. These were then coated with a special mixture of clay to protect the building from rain, damp and fluctuations in temperature. "Fine organic remains found on the flooring were examined using a water sieve which revealed large concentrations of plant remains from food, such as grain, pulses and fruit,” the excavator said. The buildings at Avgi also suggest they might have had lofts or even a second floor.
     The data archive of the excavation shows that it is "an unusual settlement for prehistoric times in the Balkans, with well-preserved construction remains and imprints on the soil from the falling walls and roofs of the buildings." The site’s excavation has also unearthed large building structures. The mayor of Aghia Triada, together with the 17th Ephorate of Prehistoric and Classical Antiquities, is planning undertakings with funding from the European program INTERREG III/Greece-Albania, which will assist in the documentation and showcasing of the finds.

Source: Kathimerini (6 October 2005)

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