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Towards a Better Integration of Archaeology and Science

Proceedings of the International Conference held at the

Netherlands Institute at Athens on
22-24 March 2010

Edited by

Sofia Voutsaki & Soultana Maria Valamoti


PREFACE ........................................................................................................................................ VII


Towards a better integration of archaeology and science in the study of ancient diet: an
introduction ........................................................................................................................... 1

Archaeological science, scientific archaeology and the Big Questions in the long-term devel-
opment of Greek society from prehistory to Roman times .................................................... 9


The quest for prehistoric meals: towards an understanding of past diets in the Aegean:
integrating stable isotope analysis, archaeobotany and zooarchaeology .................................. 19


An interdisciplinary approach to the study of cooking vessels from Bronze Age Akrotiri,
Thera ..................................................................................................................................... 33


Integrating geochemical survey, ethnography and organic residue analysis to identify and
understand areas of foodstuff processing ................................................................................ 47


Occlusal molar microwear texture analysis and the diet of the Neanderthal from Lakonis .... 55

The horse, the lake and the people: implications for the Late Glacial social landscapes at the
foot of the Pindus mountain range, north-western Greece .................................................... 65


The Neolithic site of Makriyalos, northern Greece: a reconstruction of the social and eco-
nomic structure of the settlement through a comparative study of the finds ......................... 77


Food storage and household economy at late Early Helladic II Thebes: an interdisciplinary
approach ................................................................................................................................ 89


Food storage in the context of an Early Bronze Age household economy: new evidence from
Archontiko Giannitson .......................................................................................................... 103


Reconstructing thermal food processing techniques: the application of FTIR spectroscopy in
the analysis of clay thermal structures from Early Bronze Age Archontiko ............................ 113


Living off the fruits of the sea: new evidence for dining at Papadiokampos, Crete ............... 123


Middle Helladic Lerna: diet, economy, society ..................................................................... 133


Diet, health and social differentiation in Middle Helladic Asine: a bioarchaeological view ... 149


Bioarchaeological investigations at Kolonna, Aegina (Early Helladic III to Late Helladic III) 163


Smelly barbarians or perfumed natives? An investigation of oil and ointment use in Late
Bronze Age northern Greece .................................................................................................. 173


Integrating archaeology and science in a Greek sanctuary: issues of practice and inter-
pretation in the study of the bioarchaeological remains from the Sanctuary of Poseidon at
Kalaureia ................................................................................................................................ 187


Cooking in an Iron Age pit at Karabournaki: an interdisciplinary approach ......................... 205

Are we what we eat? Reconstructing dietary patterns of Greek Byzantine populations (7th-13th cen-
turies AD) through a multi-disciplinary approach .................................................................. 215

The institutional framework of scientific analyses in Greece: administrative procedures and
some statistics for the period 2002 2009 ............................................................................. 231


Institutional framework and ethical obligations: doing archaeological science in Greece
the Round Table discussion ................................................................................................... 235
The Neolithic site of Makriyalos,
northern Greece
A reconstruction of the social and economic structure of the settlement
through a comparative study of the finds


Abstract Introduction
The excavation of the Neolithic settlement at Makriyalos, The excavation of the Neolithic settlement at Makri-
northern Greece, revealed the layout of two separate habitation yalos, northern Greece, during the early 1990s revealed
phases of the Late Neolithic period and provided the largest
artefact assemblage of this period unearthed so far. The great on a large scale the layout of two separate habitation
variety and the large number of finds allowed a remarkable phases of the Late Neolithic period and provided the
collaboration of specialists in an attempt to reconstruct of the largest artefactual assemblage of this period unearthed
economic and social dimensions of this early society. so far.1 During the last 15 years a large group of schol-
Excavation data suggest a contrast between communal and ars has been working on this material; here we pre-
individual/domestic scales of activity during both settlement
phases. Consumption practices, as reconstructed on the basis sent the most important findings to date (the project,
of the artefacts and ecofacts recovered, may reveal a similar though well advanced, is not yet complete in all
picture. Analytical methods borrowed from various fields fields). 2
(dental microwear analysis and isotope analysis of dental and The settlement is flat and extended and the two
skeletal remains, chemical analysis of organic residues in pot- separate phases only slightly overlap in space.3 In the
tery and microwear analysis of tool industries) produce a mass
of detailed information that allows a rarely achieved level of earlier habitation phase, MKI (early Late Neolithic,
insight into Neolithic subsistence practices. 5500/5400-5000BC), a system of ring ditches enclosed
Studies of both indirect (archaeobotanical, faunal) and an area of 28ha within which clusters of habitation
direct (human skeletal) evidence for subsistence indicate that pits define what may tentatively be labelled house-
diet at Makriyalos was not very different from that at other holds. In contrast to these clusters of domestic
Neolithic sites. The picture that is emerging from Makriyalos
from the combined analysis of spatial/contextual, artefactual activity, the ring ditches and a few large borrow pits
and ecofactual evidence is that everyday life was structured (or earth removal pits), containing huge assemblages
around a restricted group, perhaps a family, but that spatial of artefacts and ecofacts, presumably represent activity
organisation and portable material culture also placed great on a more collective scale (Figure 1).
emphasis on collective solidarity. Such solidarity was perhaps
reinforced by the sharing of food and labour on a daily basis
and certainly by occasional large gatherings, social events of
great importance, at which the community and perhaps the 1
Pappa et al. 1999, 2004, 2007, 2008.
regional population shared food and drink. Pappa (as co-excavator with M. Besios) is responsible for the
The provisional nature of the conclusions drawn here must study of spatial organisation and for the coordination of the writ-
be emphasised, partly because some aspects of the post-excava- ing and editing of the paper. Halstead and Kotsakis were overall
responsible for the bioarchaeological and pottery assemblages,
tion work have not yet been finished but mainly because the respectively, and commented on the final version. Other collabo-
integration of the various specialist studies is still incomplete. rators who contributed are: Bogaard and Fraser (stable isotopes),
Isaakidou (worked bone), Mainland (animal dental microwear),
Keywords Mylona (fish bones), Skourtopoulou (knapped stone), Trianta-
phyllou (human remains and stable isotopes), Tsoraki (ground
Makriyalos; Neolithic; spatial organisation; communality; stone), Urem-Kotsou (MKI pottery and organic residues), Vala-
seasonality. moti (plant remains) and Veropoulidou (shells).

FIGURE 1. Layout of Neolithic Makriyalos.

From the second phase, MKII (later Late Neolithic, the new glume wheat type. Despite the large number
4900-4600/4500BC), we also have borrow pits but of items their density per volume of soil was mostly
no enclosure ditches. The spatial organisation of human low. The glume bases, together with fig seeds, may
activity, comprising small pits and above-ground indicate deposition of spent fuel containing the by-
structures, all densely packed in a much more restricted products of de-husking glume wheats, or animal
area than during MKI, seems now to emphasise the dung mixed with such by-products, or dung contain-
domestic over the collective.4 ing glume bases that formed part of the animal diet.
This observation of different levels of communal- Other identified cultivated plant species include bar-
ity, though based initially on the settlement layout, ley, lentils, bitter vetch, pea and grass pea, but with
seems to some extent also to be supported by the the exception of barley and lentil their remains are
analysis of the finds, as will be argued in the paper. too few to determine whether they were used as crops
We will explore some social and economic features of at the site. Identified fruits include grape, blackberry
the settlement and also evaluate the degree and form and elderberry, again too sporadically to evaluate
of seasonality and mobility of habitation. To this end their contribution to the diet at Makriyalos, but more
we will discuss the evidence for subsistence management numerous finds of grape and fig in some contexts
and consumption practices as well as the consumers may indicate systematic harvest and consumption.
themselves, starting with production and husbandry and A concentration of flax and terebinth nuts in the
referring specifically to the analytical methods used. same pit suggests that these species were also used
either as food or for medicinal purposes.5
Remains of wild plants other than fruits and nuts
Plant and animal exploitation
are very scarce. This, in combination with the fact
Plant use and production that some of the archaeobotanical material may have
been incorporated in animal dung, could reflect the
The archaeobotanical assemblage from Makriyalos
grazing of animals away from at least the immediate
consists of 1300 samples in total which are mostly
vicinity of the site during the summer months and so
poor in plant remains. Those that were rich in plant
imply a relatively high degree of mobility of the
remains yielded a total of 96,500 plant items, domi-
human population (see below).6
nated by charred glume bases of einkorn, emmer and

Animal husbandry and production

Kotsakis 1999. The vertebrate faunal assemblage at Late Neolithic
See Pappa 2008.
Valamoti 2004. Makriyalos, one of the largest from Neolithic Greece
Valamoti 2004, 2007. yet studied, is heavily dominated by domesticates:

99% in MKI, 96% in MKII. A macroscopic distinc- extensively exploiting uncultivated land, is also more
tion (based on the size and robusticity of bones) likely to have involved the seasonal removal of live-
between domestic pig and wild boar or between stock. A lack of archaeobotanical evidence for sum-
domestic cattle and wild aurochs is difficult and mer grazing at Makriyalos may reflect grazing beyond
somewhat subjective, but limited stable isotope data the site (above), or the preferential collection for fuel
suggest a difference in diet between small pigs and of dung that had accumulated in places where live-
large boar (resembling humans and deer respectively) stock sheltered from bad weather in winter; the latter
that supports the macroscopic identifications.7 Among interpretation does not preclude grazing off-site in
the principal domesticates remains of pigs are the summer. The ages at death and the anatomical repre-
most numerous, especially in MKII, followed closely sentation of the youngest sheep and goats (and, more
by cattle and sheep, with goat being the least frequent. tentatively, pigs), however, suggest on-site slaughter
As usual in Neolithic Greece, the average age at during most if not all of the year, which implies that
slaughter of domesticates is lowest in pigs, followed any herding off-site, at least of the smaller domesti-
by sheep and goats, and highest in cattle. The slaugh- cates, is likely to have been local rather than long-
ter of pigs at a young age reflects their lack of sec- distance.11
ondary products (milk, wool) and the large number The suggested association of livestock with culti-
of piglets produced by each adult female. Among vated land also has implications for the nature and
sheep and goats a high proportion of juveniles and scale of crop cultivation. Data on weed species from
young adults (but not newborns) suggests that hus- the northern Balkans seem compatible with intensive
bandry prioritised meat over milk or hair/wool. For and stable gardening rather than extensive or shifting
cattle the low proportion of calves does not suggest agriculture,12 but the evidence from Makriyalos is too
an emphasis on milk, and pathological traces consist- sparse to be informative. Current research13 is explor-
ent with stress during work (e.g. ploughing) are rare, ing the relationship between manuring and crop nitro-
so that the high proportion of adults perhaps indi- gen isotope ratios across a range of crops and environ-
cates a premium on large carcasses. Mortality patterns ments,14 with the ultimate goal of assessing human/
of sheep, goats and cattle do not preclude non-inten- animal diet and farming intensity during the Neo-
sive exploitation for dairy produce, but milk residues lithic and Bronze Age across Europe and West Asia.
have not yet been identified in vessels from Makriyalos Ongoing isotopic analysis of human, faunal and
(see below). charred plant remains from Makriyalos will clarify
Crucial for an understanding of the dietary poten- both the intensity of manuring (with heavy manuring
tial of livestock, their impact on the landscape and probably indicating intensive gardening) and the die-
their wider contribution to economy is the scale on tary importance of crops.
which they were managed. Stable isotope and dental
microwear analysis for animal diet at Makriyalos
offers some indirect indications. First, dental micro-
wear analysis of pigs suggests that these animals were Shells have been studied from zoological, archaeo-
free-ranging rather than stable-fed,8 but isotopic indi- logical, taphonomic and technological points of view,
cations of a difference in diet between boar and whilst contextual analysis was conducted with the aim
domestic pigs suggest that the latter were not left to of identifying differences in their spatial and temporal
forage in the woods, but were herded or enclosed distribution.15
within the cultivated/settled area.9 Secondly, dental
microwear of sheep and goats mostly indicates a very
abrasive diet implying grazing on ground that is dis- 7
Triantaphyllou 2001, 137.
turbed perhaps by cultivation or by the overgrazing 8
Vanpoucke et al. 2009.
of pasture by animals in overcrowded pens.10 The diet Triantaphyllou 2001, 135.
Mainland & Halstead 2005.
of both pigs and sheep/goats thus suggests that animal 11
Halstead 2005.
husbandry was not practiced on a large scale, as this 12
Marinova 2007; Bogaard & Halstead in press.
would have required a more extensive use of wood- Funded by an award of the UK Natural Environment Research
Council to Bogaard.
land by pigs and of uncultivated/unenclosed pasture 14
Fraser et al. 2011.
by sheep and goats. Large-scale animal husbandry, by 15
Veropoulidou 2011.

The invertebrate fauna of Late Neolithic Makriya- 30cm), seems to be typical for much of the Aegean
los is one of the largest assemblages from Neolithic throughout history (from the Neolithic to modern
Greece yet studied. It comprises 795,585 intact and times).18
fragmented shells (NISP) of a range of estuarine and The Makriyalos fish bone assemblage also includes
marine species (55). Cockles form nearly 98% of the bones of gilt-head sea bream (Sparus aurata) and grey
assemblage, specifically the estuarine Cerastoderma mullet (Mugilidae), euryaline fish that spend certain
glaucum Poiret 1789, while the remaining 2% are phases of their life in brackish waters (river deltas
mainly oysters and surf clams. and estuaries, coastal lagoons, etc), where they achieve
Gathering concentrated on the shallow waters of a a large size and optimum physical condition. The
coastal lagoon, where molluscs were collected from presence of these two taxa is consistent with the
the muddy substrate with bare hands or with simple results of malacological analysis (above) in that it
equipment. Shells from the open sea were seldom col- suggests the presence and exploitation of euryaline
lected, and then mostly for the manufacture of shell habitats in the area.
artefacts.16 The medium/large size of specimens that Several of the dentaries and premaxillae of gilt-head
were collected alive indicates that cockles and at least sea bream (Sparus aurata) are very large and show
some seashells were gathered for food consumption. worn-out molars, which indicates a very advanced age
Most shells represent the remains of molluscs con- at death. Nowadays such large fish are very rare,
sumed cooked (steamed, roasted), while only a few mainly due to over-fishing and disruption of their
bear evidence of raw consumption. preferred habitats. Their presence in the catch is thus
The quantity of remains is large (MNI: 370,790, indicative of rich, relatively under-exploited fishing
representing ca. 3.7 ton of meat) and their ubiquity grounds around Makriyalos in the Neolithic.
across the site shows that molluscs were consumed on
a regular basis. The uneven distribution of shells
(concentrated in communal ditches and borrow-pits Means of consumption
in MKI; in domestic areas in MKII) roughly corre-
Thermal structures
sponds to that of the other evidence, such as pottery
and animal bones. All these ingredients of the Neolithic diet were most
likely consumed cooked in the 29 hearths and ovens
found scattered throughout the settlement area. These
Fish bones
were mostly small and of simple construction; most
The fish bone assemblage from Makriyalos comprises seem to have been domed and sometimes their flimsy
over a thousand fish bones and fragments, mostly construction suggests a limited number of use episodes.
vertebrae and spines. Cranial and branchial bones are Their size shows that cooking took place in moderate
relatively rare. The remains of very small fish (<15cm) quantities, as the size of the cooking pots also sug-
dominate the assemblage. These are mostly members gests. In contrast, evidence from animal butchery
of the Sparidae family, but a few remains of Centra- marks, which are not very common, shows that rather
canthidae (picarel/sprat) and small-sized Serranidae large carcass parcels were cooked and that meat was
(combers) have also been identified. Among the shared out once cooked. Most of the slaughtered ani-
largest inshore fish groupers (Epinephelus sp.), large mals were far too large for fresh consumption by a
Sparidae and sting ray (Dasyatidae) have been iden- single domestic group of the size implied by the serv-
tified. These remains suggest a focus on fishing in ing and cooking pots.19
relatively shallow coastal waters.17 Such inshore fish-
ing, especially for small and medium-size fish (up to
Study of the MKI pottery has identified four main
Pappa & Veropoulidou 2011. functional categories of vessels: tableware (associated
Information on fish biology & ecology is based on Froese & with food consumption), storage vessels for the stor-
Pauly 2010. age, serving and consumption of liquids, long-term
Mylona in preparation; Rose 1994; Leukaditis 1941; Theodoro-
poulou 2007. storage vessels, and a considerable number of cooking
Halstead 2007. vessels. Technological, morphological and stylistic

analysis indicates an uneven degree of variability that the consumption of daily meals in Makriyalos
within each functional group. took place at the domestic level.
Medium-sized tableware vessels such as bowls,
which are suitable for serving food, are highly stand-
Ground stone assemblage
ardised in terms of technology and style. The size of
these vessels is similar to that of cooking pots and The Makriyalos ground stone assemblage comprises
their capacity suggests that they could have contained ca. 8800 artefacts, the majority of them grinding/
the entire meal that had been prepared in an ordinary abrasive tools (66%). This category is represented
cooking vessel. Given the size of both cooking pots mainly by upper and lower grinding tools (i.e. grinders
and serving vessels, it is assumed that the latter were and grinding slabs) while pestles and small mortars/
used communally rather than individually. Further- vessels are uncommon. Grinding slabs vary in size,
more, serving vessels were the most elaborate and with the majority showing two opposed flat use faces.
highly decorated in the whole assemblage, stressing The variation in size may be associated with different
the importance of food sharing activities. In contrast grinding activities, as perhaps is the treatment of use
to the homogeneity of serving bowls, small vessels faces (e.g. maintenance of a rough texture in some
like cups, suitable for individual consumption, are cases and completely smooth and/or polished use
highly variable in their technological and stylistic faces in others).27
characteristics.20 Wear on the use faces of grinding slabs and grind-
The morphological variation of the cooking pots ers indicates that they were used together for a wide
suggests the use of several techniques to prepare food. range of grinding activities. That the grinding slabs
Closed-shaped vessels were obviously used for boiling, may have been employed to process grain as well as
deep open pots were suitable for stewing, and shallow other plants is shown by: a) the selection of raw mate-
large pans for baking. Apart from these main shapes rials with a heterogeneous texture (grain size and min-
variations in shape and size further expand the reper- eral composition),28 b) the retention of the abrasive
toire of cooking vessels, suggesting a corresponding capacity of the use faces, and c) wear patterns such as
variation in dishes. Most common, however, were ves- abrasive wear, occasionally in combination with per-
sels suitable for boiling and stewing.21 Chemical anal- cussive wear from pounding/crushing activities.29
ysis of 11 large MKI baking pans indicated that they Variation in processing techniques affects the tex-
had been used to prepare food that was low in lipids, ture of the ground product (e.g. finely ground flour
such as certain types of plant foods22 or molluscs.23 By or coarse meal), allowing variation in the recipes
contrast, animal fat along with lipids associated with and dishes prepared by different individuals or social
plant food has been regularly detected in pots for groups (e.g. coarse meal used in stews as a thickener
boiling and stewing. Thus, the combined analysis of or fine-textured varieties of flour used in dough).30
cooking vessel morphology and organic residues sug- The small Makriyalos grinding slabs may have been
gests that the most common daily dish was boiled used to grind cereals into grits as has been suggested
or stewed food of both plant and animal origin.24 for other Neolithic examples.31 Moreover, the use of
No indications of milk or dairy products have been sandstone for grinding slabs may have resulted in the
found yet.25
Cooking pots that were rich in animal fat were 20
Urem-Kotsou & Kotsakis 2007.
also subjected to stable isotope analysis. Analysis by 21
Urem-Kotsou 2006.
GC-C-IRMS indicates that 12 out of the 16 cooking 22
Urem-Kotsou et al. 2008.
pots were used to process meat/fat of both ruminant Craig et al. 2007; Heron et al. 2007; Passi et al. 2002.
Food of plant and animal origin may have been cooked together
and non-ruminant animals. Consequently food con- but also separately. The fact that both have been chemically iden-
sumption rules at Makriyalos did not consistently tified in the same individual vessels does not necessarily imply that
distinguish between the four common domesticates they were also cooked together.
Evershed et al. 2008; Kotsakis et al. 2008.
that were the main sources of food of animal ori- 26
Urem-Kotsou 2006; Urem-Kotsou & Kotsakis 2007.
gin.26 27
Tsoraki 2008; cf. Roux 1985.
It is worth noting that pots for boiling and stewing Schneider 2002, 40; Risch 2002, 2008.
Tsoraki 2008.
are of moderate size, implying that food was being 30
Adams 1999, 479-480.
cooked for only a few people at a time and therefore 31
Runnels 1981, 153.

contamination of processed food with rock particles, The range of rocks used is remarkably diverse and
potentially creating dental wear (striations) that may unlike that found at other known sites of the same
be detected in dental microwear analysis. period in the Greek Neolithic. Macroscopic work in
The repeated deposition of ground stone tools in combination with geological surveying and petro-
the MKI pit clusters and in MKII pits suggests that graphic and chemical analysis has demonstrated that
daily activities were organised on a small scale and at the materials present at Makriyalos represent a wide
the level of separate domestic units. Each social group range of geological and geographical contexts from
possessed its own toolkit and was equipped to cover northern and southern Greece, a pattern that may
a range of activities from plant processing to various well be related to the location of the site at the cross-
crafts.32 These observations are in agreement with the roads between Macedonia and Thessaly.36
analysis of other sets of material culture, such as Ca. 50% of the tools at Makriyalos were produced
knapped stone artefacts.33 The rather small size of the from rock types that could have been obtained from
Makriyalos grinding slabs indicates that only a small regional or local sources, including quartz, cherts,
amount of vegetable food could have been processed jaspers, and flints. They were designed to perform
at a time, which may reflect the modest size of the a range of everyday tasks with simple, non-recycled
social unit that used these tools and/or the domestic tools. The fairly low skill necessary for the manufac-
character of these activities. This points towards a ture of most of these tools, in combination with
small-scale production of foodstuffs during the Neo- ample evidence for on-site production in many habi-
lithic which, as Valamoti has suggested, may have tation units, suggest the absence of a division of
prevented the survival of significant quantities of pro- labour between specialists and non-specialists. Instead
cessed cereals within archaeological contexts.34 it may be described as household production.
Grinding slabs were also used in communal events, The rest of the Makriyalos tools involved skilled
and the results of detailed technological and spatial anal- exploitation of high-quality materials from various
yses suggest that they may have been used by individual regional and inter-regional sources. An evaluation of
social groups during daily events and could have been these tool procurement strategies reveals contrasting
easily transferred to communal areas when required.35 patterns of exchange. Fine-textured radiolarian flints
were used for ca. 10-15% of the total on-site tool pro-
duction, and in combination with the high propor-
Knapped stone production
tion of obsidian bladelets (4% of the total knapped-
The knapped-stone assemblage in Makriyalos com- stone assemblage, but much more in relation to tool
prises over 11,000 pieces. The majority of the knapped- production) they enable us to re-evaluate existing
stone tools come from MKII contexts, with material models for the procurement of these stone types.37
from MKI forming only approximately 35% of the Clearly we need to question models of coastal mari-
total. time travel and the development of skilled blade
Knapped-stone production is carried out at differ- manufacture at a regional scale, by knappers living
ent scales in spatial, technical and economic terms. and working in northern Greece and Thessaly. The
exploitation of siliceous limonite (ca. 15%), for
instance, a distinct chert-type rock common in the
Tsoraki 2007, 2008. Late Neolithic communities of central Macedonia,38
Skourtopoulou 2006; see also below.
Valamoti 2007, 96. clearly involved a trans-regional network of procure-
Tsoraki 2008. ment. This was shown by the discovery of a distinct
Geological survey and petrographic analyses were carried out in quarry and two Late Neolithic settlements of a similar
collaboration with Prof. Sarantis Dimitriadis, Dept. of Geology,
Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, cf. Dimitriadis & Skourto- date as those at Makriyalos, Vasilika and Thermi,
poulou 2001; NAA analysis was carried out in collaboration with both located in the wider area of the Thermaic Gulf
Dr. V. Kilikoglou and Prof. A. Moundrea-Agrafioti, as part of the and yielding evidence for a tool production industry
Obsianus research project.
Renfrew & Aspinall 1990; Renfrew, Cann & Dixon 1965; Tor- that greatly exceeded local subsistence needs.39
rence 1986; Perls 1990, 1992; Karimali 1994. The procurement of tools through these strategies
Skourtopoulou 1990, 1993. could be explained in terms of subsistence, symbolic uses
Skourtopoulou in preparation; Skourtopoulou 2003; Kyriaki-
dou 1991. and socio-cultural alliances.40 At the same time it implies
Perls 1992. a specialised division of labour, quite demanding in

material and social terms, that exceeds communal or as (food plus) raw material, is compatible with the
boundaries and indicates a complex society.41 apparent importance of collective consumption events
The macroscopic and stereoscopic recording of use in MKI and the greater emphasis on domestic or
traces in combination with preliminary use wear anal- individual activity in MKII.
ysis allows some tool types to be tentatively linked
with a range of activities including wood-, stone- and
Consumers: human remains
shell-working, hide-processing, and herbaceous-plant
cutting.42 Together with the study of other artefact Three levels of approach were used for a dietary
categories this will enable a detailed investigation of reconstruction based on the human bone assemblage
the organisation of labour at Makriyalos, including at Makriyalos: 1) macroscopic analysis of dental
that involving everyday subsistence activities. lesions in relation to the chemistry of the oral envi-
In addition, the depositional patterning of knapped ronment;47 2) dental microwear analysis of the mas-
stone reveals a recurring concentration of the same ticatory surface of a limited number of molars in
compositional wholes in habitation areas,43 each relation to the texture of the foodstuff consumed;48
with the same repertoire of debitage and tools meet- and 3) carbon and nitrogen stable isotope analysis of
ing key subsistence and non-subsistence needs. This tooth and bone samples in relation to protein intake.49
suggests independently functioning small domestic This threefold approach provided an opportunity to
units, a conclusion consistent with the patterns explore different aspects of diet including methods of
emerging from the analysis of the knapped stone tools preparation, processing and cooking as well as con-
themselves.44 sumption of general food categories.
A high frequency of calculus deposits versus low
rates of dental caries at Neolithic Makriyalos, as is
Bone tool assemblage
evident from the macroscopic examination of teeth,
As is the case with other categories of material Makri- suggests a diet rich in animal protein and low in
yalos has also yielded an exceptionally large assem- carbohydrates, contrary to the conventional model of
blage of worked bone, including carefully manufac- Neolithic diet as being dominated by cereals and
tured tools and ornaments as well as bone fragments highly processed foodstuffs.50 Dental caries and calcu-
(probably the result of routine breakage for marrow lus tend to be mutually exclusive so that they can be
extraction) that had been opportunistically and briefly good indicators of the protein versus carbohydrate
used for some practical purpose. Two observations content of the diet. It is important to note that both
should be emphasised here. First, a comparison of the conditions may be present in the same mouth, but at
worked assemblage with the much larger assem- a population level there may be a slightly inverse rela-
blage of unworked bone indicates a clear preference tionship between the frequency of caries and that of
for specific raw materials. In particular, bones of large calculus.51 For dental microwear analysis a canonical
wild animals were apparently avoided, hinting at a discriminant function analysis of 25 dental micro-
crucial conceptual distinction between hunted and features (related to the size, dimensions and frequency
herded animals that may be related to the opposition of pits and striations) was applied to skeletal populations
between the collective and the domestic/individual
which has been emphasised throughout this paper.45
Second, the ratio of worked versus unworked bone is 41
Halstead 1995; 1999, 89-91; Kotsakis 1999, 73-74.
dramatically higher in the MKII than in MKI settle- 42
Gibaja & Skourtopoulou n.d.
ment, and a similar contrast can be observed in the Compositional whole here designates the accumulation of
debitage and tools in a recurrent pattern in recurrent spatial units.
ratio of worked versus unworked shell.46 Explaining For a more detailed discussion on the spatial patterning of
this contrast is difficult, but worked bone and shell knapped stone in Makriyalos see Skourtopoulou 2006.
tools probably had a much longer use-life than their Skourtopoulou 2006, 66.
Isaakidou 2003.
unworked counterparts that were the result of butch- 46
Pappa & Veropoulidou 2011.
ering or gathering and that were more or less imme- 47
Triantaphyllou 2001, 117-132.
diately used and discarded. The observed chronologi- Triantaphyllou n.d.; Triantaphyllou & Mainland in preparation.
Triantaphyllou 2001, 133-139; Triantaphyllou in press.
cal difference in the ratio between these two categories 50
Cohen & Armelagos 1984; Triantaphyllou 2001, 118-127.
of material, both of which could serve either as food 51
Hillson 1979, 150; 1996, 260.

from prehistoric Macedonia. The results of dental anything about the balance between animals and
microwear analysis at Neolithic Makriyalos, in par- plants. Nonetheless, the indirect (archaeobotanical,
ticular the morphology and size of the recorded and faunal) and the direct (human skeletal) evidence both
measured striations, suggest the consumption of a suggest that the diet at Makriyalos was similar to that
moderately processed diet containing rather many at other Neolithic sites.
abrasives. This may be associated with food prepara- Excavation data suggest a strong contrast between
tion methods such as grinding and the ensuing inclu- communal and individual/domestic scales of activity
sion of many small stone particles in the Neolithic during both settlement phases. During MKI commu-
diet (see above).52 Stable isotope analysis suggests a C3 nality is stressed by public works (e.g. the ring ditches)
terrestrial type of diet that was based on plant protein and collective consumption contexts (e.g. borrow pit
consumption and with a generally modest animal 212). Pit 212, for instance, yielded a quantity of pot-
protein intake (meat and dairy products), while some tery, animal bones, shells and ground stone tools that
individuals with less positive d15 N values closer to exceeds any other context at Makriyalos (and perhaps
those of animal bone represent heavy consumers of in all of prehistoric Greece), while the stratigraphic
plant protein, in particular legumes. Because legumes and the taphonomic evidence both support the iden-
fix nitrogen directly from the air they are character- tification of a huge consumption episode that possi-
ised by extremely low values for d15 N.53 The dental bly transcends even the communal level. This sense of
and isotopic data thus present a seemingly contradic- communality is also evident in the fact that cooking/
tory picture, but they address different aspects of diet: serving vessels are highly standardised, signalling an
dental pathology informs us indirectly about particu- emphasis on solidarity with a larger group, although
lar types of dietary intake, such as consumption of at the same time cups are highly individualised which
meat and carbohydrates, while stable isotopes reflect implies also an element of intra-communal competi-
consumption profiles after metabolism through the tion. In contrast, the evidence for spatial organisation
human body. Both approaches suggest that the Neo- during MKII suggests a greater emphasis on individual
lithic Makriyalos population shared a terrestrial diet or household-level activities. The picture that emerges
involving both agricultural and animal products. from the combined analysis of spatial/contextual,
Despite the large number of shells no marine signal artefactual and ecofactual evidence from Makriyalos
was detected during the stable isotope measurements, is therefore that everyday life was structured around a
perhaps because the majority of mollusc remains restricted group, perhaps the family, but that both
come from an estuarine habitat.54 Studies of marine spatial organisation and portable material culture also
ecology and classical accounts of fishing technology strongly emphasised collective solidarity. Such soli-
also indicate a rather limited dietary intake of fish in darity was perhaps reinforced by sharing food and
ancient Greece.55 labour on a daily basis and certainly by occasional
large gatherings, social events of great importance, at
which the community and perhaps the regional pop-
Conclusion: consumption practices in context
ulation shared food and drink.
Animal bones and plant remains shed no direct light The provisional nature of the conclusions drawn
on the relative contributions of crops and livestock to here must be emphasised, partly because some aspects
the diet, although the lack of evidence for intensive of post-excavation study are not yet complete, but
use of milk does not suggest a heavy reliance on mainly because the integration of several specialist
animals. Human skeletal data (oral pathology and sta- studies is still in an early stage. Nonetheless, it is
ble isotopes) confirm a dietary reliance on terrestrial already clear that the integration of different but
animals and plants, but again do not directly reveal complementary specialities is one of the most reward-
ing, as well as the most challenging, parts of the post-
excavation process. We have highlighted some points
Nystrom & Cox 2003. of mutual disagreement above, not least because they
Triantaphyllou 2001, 138; Keegan 1989, 226. may serve as pointers to areas of further research.
De Brabandere et al. 2002; Hedges 2004; Milner et al. 2004, Finally, we wish to stress the need for a large number
16-17; Owens & Law 1989; Richards & Schulting 2006, 450-451.
For a recent discussion on the role of fishing in antiquity see of macroscopic studies of large assemblages of ceram-
Mylona 2007. ics, human or animal bones, plant remains, etc to

precede and inform microscopic or biomolecular D. UREM-KOTSOU

analyses of carefully targeted sub-samples of these Department of History and Ethnology,
larger assemblages. Democritus University of Thrace
16 Ephorate of Prehistoric and Classical S.M. VALAMOTI
Antiquities, Hellenic Ministry of Education and Department of Archaeology,
Religious Affairs, Culture and Sports Aristotle University of Thessaloniki

Department of Archaeology, University of Sheffield Museum of Byzantine Culture, Thessaloniki
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