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S. Tzeveleki Aegean and Cyprus in the Early Holocene. Brothers or Distant Relatives, Journal of Mediterranean Archaeology and Archaeometry 1, Pp. 43-55.

S. Tzeveleki Aegean and Cyprus in the Early Holocene. Brothers or Distant Relatives, Journal of Mediterranean Archaeology and Archaeometry 1, Pp. 43-55.

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05/28/2011

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Mediterranean Archaeology and Archaeometly, Vol.
1,
No
1,
pp.
43-55
Copyright
0
001
MAA
Printed in Greece.
All
rights
reserved
AEGEAN AND CYPRUS IN THE EARLY HOLOCENE:BROTHERS OR DISTANT RELATIVES?
STELLA KATSAROU-TZEVELEKI
Received:
30-3-2001
Accepted:
28-9-2001
5
Ts. Karatasou Str.
11
742
Athens, Greece.e-mail: stella.kats@iname. corn
ABSTRACT
This paper discusses neolithisation procedures in the Aegean in comparison with those in Cyprusunder the light of recent excavations in both areas within the last decade, and speculates the possibilityofplacing the eastern Mediterranean island cultures under comparable stratigraphic horizons. It isobserved that the similarities of the earliest phase are interrupted about the middle of 8th mil. B.C.,when Cyprus "imports9eceramic Neolithic from the Near East, while the Aegean follows slowindigenous procedures of neolithisation. Despite difference in subsistence economies and group concepts,some similarities are though indicated regarding archaistic features in architecture and burial practices,and give the incentive to discuss problems of isolation and conservatism.
-
-
-
--
EYWORDS:
Indigenous vs. imported neolithisation, conservatism vs. cultural flexibility
INTRODUCTION
During the last decade Aegean and Cypmhad the experience of surprising discoveries,
so
that all previously established views consideringthe eastern Mediterranean islands
as
"emptylandscapes" (Woodman 1990) during the firstmillenia of the Holocene, seemed to loose anysupport.
As
a matter of fact, although the Aegeanwas involved as a major geographical constituentin all theories assigning the origin of post-palaeolithic cultures of the Greek area to movingpopulations ex oriente (Ammerman and Cavalli-Sforza 1984; Zvelebil 1985), the absence of anyearly Holocene human traces deprived theAegean of being also considered as a habitat ofactive populations rather than a mere crossroadswhich people traversed without staying (VanAndel and Runnels 1988; Runnels 1995).The recovery of stratified early Holocene sitesat Akrotiri, Shillourokampos and other sites onCyprus (Fig.
l),
nd in the Cave of Cyclope andcape Maroulas in the Aegean have for the firsttime provided a substantial base for comparingneolithisation between the two areas.
As
bothareas were proved to have been occupied muchearlier than long-standing theories have
 
STELLA
KATSAROU
-
TZEVELEKI
c.
Andreas
Kastros
Acernmic
NLEpi-PLAPPNB
Fig.
1.
Map
of
Cyprus
with
preceramic sites.
assumed, the new data have raised similardiscussions on the origin of the colonists andseafaring adaptations, the density of interactionwith the adjacent main lands, the early modes ofsubsistence and their role to the transition to foodproduction economy in the Aegean and Cyprus.The same data have also lead to thereconstruction of older biogeographic patterns ofisland subsistence suggested by Cheny (1979,1981, 1984, 1985, 1990,1995), Runnels(1995) and Stanley-Price (1977).Cyprus lies about 400 km. far from Rhodesand about 600 km. from Crete, while thedistance from the Greek mainland is about 800km. It
is
more than sure that no direct contactsexisted between the two areas in the earlyHolocene and thus far very few scholars haveattempted cultural correlation between the twoareas in early prehistory (Efstratiou andMantzourani 1997; LeBrun 1997). However,Aegean and Cyprus have shared commonfeatures on their shift from the hunting-gathering economy to food production, althoughthis shift was done via different tracks andepisodes. In the light of the recent excavations,we suggest to correlate Cypriot and Aegean earlyHolocene cultures by placing both areas undertwo common stratigraphic horizons and evaluateoutcoming comparisons.
LOWERIEARLY
PHASE.
The site of Akrotiri-Aetokremnos in
Cypms
(Simmons 1999) and the lowest levels of theCave of Cyclope on Youra in the Aegean(Sampson 1998; Sampson 2001) consist theearliest eastern Mediterranean horizon which
we
call Lower or Early Phase and covers a time spanof about 1,500 years, between the 10th and 9thmil. BC (calibrated, as all following dates), allalong the Proto-Neolithic and the PPNA ofAnatolia and the Levant (Tabl.
1).
The two sitesare not absolutely contemporary, as Akrotiri isoccupied between early 10th and late 9th mil.BC with emphasis in 10005-9702
BC
(Wigand
 
AEGEAN
AND
CYPRUS
IN
THE
EARLY HOLOCENE
and Simmons 1999) and Youra-lower levels weredated around the middle of 9th mil. BC(Facorellis and Maniatis 2001).Both site locations demonstrate commonselectivity criteria by the populations (Kvammeand Jockim1990), such as high elevation (65 m.at Aetokremnos, 100 m. at the Cave of Cyclope)in close proximity to the coast, good availabilityof shelter (both are cave sites located on thecoastal cliffs), open view to the sea with visualcontact to all adjacent coasts and islands in the
case
of the Cave of Cyclope, and immediateaccess to water springs and biotopes. Familiaritywith the sea and navigation is another commonfeature, since Youra fishermen depended highlyon seafaring and Aetokremnos colonists had tocross a distance of more than 60 km. of open seato reach Curpus (Stanley-Price 1977; Held 1989;Gomez and Pease 1992; Simmons 1999), whichpresupposes substantial coastal adaptation at aprevious stage (Simmons 1999).Subsistence patterns are in both sitesorientated to hunting activities on a permanentbasis with specialisation in a certain foragingpattern, which involves the systematic hunting ofdwarf elephants and pigmy hippopotami in thecase of Aetokremnos (Vaufrey 1929; Held 1992;Reese 1995; Simmons 1999) and an organisedfishing economy in the case of Youra (Sampson1998; Sampson2001), as indicated by the thickfishbone assemblages and the wide collection offishing tools. Both caves should be interpreted ascamp sites, intended to serve as central-processing and storage bases, whlle there
is
littleevidence favoring any sort of permanenthabitation. According to the excavators, theAetokremnos' hunters should not exceed thenumber of 50 individuals maintaining a broaderpopulation group of about 500 individuals,maybe supported by a network of similar sites,such as Akanthou-Archangellos Michael innorthern Cyprus (Reese 1995; Simmons 1999),which is a highly probable pattern for Youra aswell.Low variability of tools in both sites supportsthe pattern of hunting specialisation, while thestrong localised idocyncracies and the tendencyfor microlithic types in both tool industries aretypical epiplalaeolithic features, which echoesKembarian-Natoufian traditions (Bar-Yosef andVal1 1991) in the case of Cyprus (Simmons1999), and the Mesolithic industries of Antalyacaves (Otte et al. 1995) and Franchthi (Perlts1990) in the case of Youra (Sampson et al. 1998).Hunting specialisation to one species or to alimited range of game animals is very usualamong most epiplalaeolithic groups in Anatoliaand the Levant (Vigne and Buitenhuis 1999,Peters
et
al.
1999, Horwitz et al. 1999), wheregazelle was the main target (Mellaart1975), inFranchthi cave, which depended much on red-deer hunting (Mellaart 1975), as well as innorthern Europe which practiced systematicbird-catching and fishing strategies(Bonsall1990; Grigson 1990). Hunting remained themajor subsistence resource also for earlysedentary villages of PPNA SE Anatolia, such
as
Hallan Cemi which continued to depend onhunting even after populations have stoppedbeing nomadic (Vigne and Buitenhuis 1999).The basic difference between the economy ofYoura and Akrotiri is that the latter was almostexclusively concentrated on the pigmy-hippo-and-dwarf-elephant hunting and exploitedsupplementary resources, such as marineresources for example, at a much lower degree,even when faunal endemic hunting is in decline.Youra, on the other hand, shows a broaderdietary equilibrium between land and seaavailable resources, with substantial secondarysubsistence choices supplementing fishing. Themost important of these choices, apart fromcollecting mollusks, bird-catching and wildgame hunting, was the breeding of domesticatedpigs. However the bones of pigs recovered withinYoura deposits preserve strong features of theirwild ancestors, indicating that the animals werestill in the first stage of domestication (K.Trantalidou, pers. comm.), which is reminiscentof similar observations by specialists in the

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