Neolithic caves and settlements in Dodecanese Surface surveys in recent years, together with the excavation of two caves

in Rhodes have added a wealth of prehistoric material to that already known , and put the study of the Prehistory of Dodecanese on a new footing. After a systematic survey in 19761980 on most of these islands and the excavation of three open settlements on Yali, Leros and Alimnia and of two caves in Rhodes, the picture now emerging is one of a relatively dense distribution of sites, with similarities to Late Chalkolithic centers of Western Anatolia and to Late Neolithic of the Central Aegean (Sampson 1987). A clear stratigraphy in the caves of Rhodes allowed the division of the Late Neolithic of the Dodecanese in four phases (Late Aegean Neolithic 1-4), contemporary with the four phases of the Late Chalcolithic in Anatolia and the Late Neolithic of the Greek mainland (LN Ia,b and LN II a,b). The earliest occupation is represented in the lower strata of Kalythies Cave (Fig. 1) by a few pottery sherds, with similarities to the Hacilar and Catal Huyuk culture of Anatolia (Mellaart 1966, 1970) and is dated by a C14 determination around 57005600 BC calibrated. In Kalythies the phase I is contemporary with the beginning of the Late Neolithic on the Greek mainland (5300/5200- 4900/4800 BC). Thick strata indicate continuous occupation over a long period. In phase I the pottery was of three kinds: course, burnished and unslipped monochrome and painted. The painted ware (white on dark) is a type of pottery well known in the Aegean (Samos, Chios, Limnos, Mykonos, Saliagos) and in Anatolia (Fig. 2). In phase II there is also burnished monochrome pottery and White on Dark but there is greater variety of shapes. In phase III there are both painted and monochrome wares; mainly red with a thick or thin slip. There are large numbers of querns and grinders in every level and an abundance of obsidian, chiefly from Milos (80%). Plentiful human and faunal remains include a full range of basic Neolithic domesticates (sheep, goat, pig, cow). Only selected joints of deer appear to have been brought to the cave. In all levels human bones and teeth occur that indicate permanent or secondary burials. The cave Koumelo (Fig. 3) lies on a barren rocky district near the village Archangelos. Thin layers of rainwash separate the Neolithic living floors, from which it appears that the cave was used periodically than continuously. The stratigraphy in both trenches that were opened was excellent and it was possible to distinguish two phases. The earlier one (phase I) corresponded to phase II at Kalythies (Late Aegean Neolithic 3) and the later one (phase II) to the Late Aegean Neolithic 4. Above the Neolithic levels the cave was filled with a thick deposit of volcanic ash which has been shown by analysis to be tephra from the Santorini volcano (Galloway et al. 1991). The tephra clearly came into the cave through the entrance and some holes of the roof as a result of a sudden violent downpour.

Fig. 1. Rhodes. The Cave of Agios Georgios

Fig. 2. Painted pottery from the cave of Agios Georgios.

Fig. 3. Stratigraphical section from the cave Koumelo

Sign up to vote on this title
UsefulNot useful