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4 March 2007
Prehistoric necropolis found in Greece

An unknown civilization around four lakes that lasted from 6000 BCE to 60 BCE has been uncovered in two important excavations of a Neolithic and an Iron Age settlement in the Amyntaio district of Florina, northern Greece. A 7,300-year-old home with a timber floor, remnants of food supplies and blackberry seeds are among the findings in a Neolithic settlement near the lakes of Vegoritis, Petres, Heimatitida and Zazari. Garments, women's fashions and burial customs in northern Eordaia 3,000 years ago are coming to light among the hundreds of funeral offerings in a forgotten necropolis dating from the Iron Age in western Macedonia.
     A systematic investigation of 12 tombs by the 17th Antiquities Ephorate has found a total of 358 tombs dating from between 950 BCE and 550 BCE. Although the first discovery in 1898 of 376 graves produced many findings, now in the Istanbul Museum, the necropolis between the lakes of Heimatitida and Petres has revealed hundreds more graves. The graves, mostly rectangular in shape and placed in a circular formation, contain hundreds of funeral gifts buried with the dead. Among them are ceramic and bronze pots, jewelry, clothing accessories, iron and bronze weapons and tools and a number of other objects of unknown use.
     A total of 460 locally made pots have been collected from the graves of men, women and children. Of particular interest are the pieces of jewelry, hairdressing and beauty aids in nearly all the women’s graves as well as those of little girls. Panikos Chrysostomou, who is in charge of the dig, has attempted to depict the appearance of women in ancient Pateli. The depiction shows details of bronze ribbon diadems and bronze and gold hair ornaments, bead necklaces of stone, bronze or shell, iron, ivory or leather belts decorated with bronze, a wide variety of bracelets and bronze rings for the middle or ring finger. Men's graves show that residents of this town did not bear arms, as only a few weapons were found in the graves.
     Inhabited from 6000 BCE to 3100 BCE in the region of Amyntaio, a Neolithic settlement has given up hundreds of findings. Part of a timber floor measuring 5 square meters and in excellent condition is unique in Greece and the Balkans. A large number of objects indicate the economic activity, eating habits and daily activities of the inhabitants and include weaving looms, ceramic pots, 53 clay figurines, 25 small figures of humans and animals, a large number of jewelry items and charred remnants of plants (wheat, lentils, pomegranates and fruit seeds) which have been preserved for 7,300 years.

Source: Kathimerini (2 March 2007)

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