Friday 2 March 2012

Thomas Strasser and Eleni Panagopoulou
Providence College and Buy generic viagra pills Hellenic Ministry of Culture

Crete in the Ice Age: Recent

Evidence for Very Early Mariners


In 2008 The Plakias Mesolithic Survey began looking for pre-Neolithic remains in southwest Crete. No definitive evidence for the Mesolithic (9000-7000 B.C.) on the island had been found: a surprising fact in light of the Mesolithic sites reported from Cyprus, Kythnos and the Sporades.  The survey employed a site-location model used successfully to identify Mesolithic sites in the Kandia region of the Argolid.  It was a “directed survey,” neither intensive nor diachronic, but rather aimed at environments that Mesolithic peoples would have exploited and where their artifacts would be visibly preserved.  The survey focused on fresh-water estuaries associated with south-facing limestone caves and steep bathymetric descents close to the modern shoreline.  The areas of Plakias and Ayios Pavlos in the Rethymnon Nomos, on the southern coast, were chosen prix cialis 5 mg comprime pellicule boite de 28 because they fulfilled those criteria. 
Over 1600 stones tools were collected from ten Mesolithic sites with assemblages of microlithic. artifacts of quartz and chert similar to known assemblages on the mainland.  Of enormous importance for both Cretan prehistory and ancient sea faring was the discovery of Early Palaeolithic (ca. 1.6 mya to 250 kya) artifacts. These included quartz hand axes and cleavers.  These were found in two important contexts: raised marine terraces (i.e., fossilized beaches) and Pleistocene terra rossas.  By working with geologists we were able to establish a terminus ante quem that is not only well into the Pleistocene, but also earlier than 100,000 years ago.
In 2011, one of the Mesolithic sites near the village of Damnoni was chosen for excavation because of its soil preservation. The excavation found clearly stratified layers containing Mesolithic artifacts. This excavation has produced the first stratified Mesolithic cultural remains on Crete. The site is on a south-facing slope below a small cave and near freshwater streams. Test trenches were excavated to understand the stratigraphy, and they revealed three strata. The first consists of brown topsoil with a mixture of Mesolithic and later artifacts. An orange Aeolian deposit that contains most of the Mesolithic artifacts underlay this. The third stratum is a deep red paleosol; the upper level contained Mesolithic tools and probably formed the earliest living surface, but somewhat deeper it immediately became sterile of cultural remains. The chipped stone artifacts were predominantly made of local milky quartz, but there is also some chert. Presently micromorphological analysis and Optical Stimulated Luminescence dating is being conducted while the artifacts are studied.  Now that one Mesolithic site has been successfully excavated, we hope that future research will expand upon this initial investigation.


Next Seminar

Friday 12 May 18.30

M. Marthari
Raos on Thera...