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The Human Face of Radiocarbon

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Zoï Tsirtsoni

Southern Greece

Chapter 23. The Neolithic and Early Bronze Age settlement in Merenta, Attica, in its regional context

Olga Kakavogianni, Elena Tselepi, Kleio Dimitriou, Christina Katsavou et Kerasia Douni
Traduction de Athina Pediaditaki-Nalbant

Dedicated to René Treuil, in remembrance of the search for “Kitsanthrope” in Lavreotiki, in December 1969.

Texte intégral

The authors wish to thank the Institute for Aegean Prehistory (INSTAP) for the financial support of the program for the analysis, and the restoring and recording of the FN/EH I pottery from Merenta, conducted by Kleio Dimitriou.

Introduction4

  • 4 Text translated from Greek by Athina Pediaditaki-Nalbant.
  • 5 Pantelidou-Gofa 1997, p. 10; Kakavogianni 2008, p. 94.

1Southeastern Attica is a geographical entity surrounded by Mounts Hymettus and Penteli. It comprises the large plain of Mesogeia and other smaller plains with small streams running through them. The region has been inhabited since the Early Neolithic period5 (fig. 1). In the hilly area spreading north from Mt Merenta, on the eastern side of the Agios Georgios torrent, two small settlements were excavated during the 1999‑2003 work for the construction of the Olympic Equestrian Center: the first dates from the Early Neolithic, and was occupied during the Later Neolithic period as well. The second settlement dates from the Final Neolithic and Early Helladic periods.

Fig. 1Map of Southeastern Attica with the Final Neolithic and Early Helladic I sites.

The Early Neolithic settlement and Late Neolithic house

The EN settlement6

  • 6 Authors are E. Tselepi and Chr. Katsavou. The settlement is presented here very briefly as it is ou (...)
  • 7 Concerning the prehistoric occupation of the Mesogaia region, see Kakavogianni 2008. The pottery ha (...)

2The settlement lies on the southeastern side of a small mound. It covers an area of ca 2000 m2 and dates from an early phase of the EN7. Two sectors have been distinguished: the eastern sector constituted the main habitation area, defined on the southwest by a post-framed enclosure, while the western sector comprised several roughly made pits of irregular shape.

  • 8 It has been proposed that the pits were not houses but the result of clay extraction activities (Pe (...)
  • 9 Compare Pantelidou-Gofa 1991, p. 131, fig. 128; Pantelidou-Gofa 1997, p. 68, fig. 55‑56. The post-f (...)
  • 10 For a proposed reconstruction of the post-framed walls and the roof of such huts, see Pantelidou-Go (...)

3The earliest houses were post-framed huts, built on the ground level with a roughly square plan (the dimensions of the best preserved are 5 x 4.50 m), or semi-subterranean with a roughly circular or elliptical floor plan (diameter ranging from 2.50 to 7 m, depth from 0.13 to 1 m)8. One of the huts (Hut 1) had a porch9, and probably a saddled roof, as two post holes in the interior seem to imply10. The small Hut 2 was possibly an auxiliary space for Huts 3 and 4. These two connected to a corridor dug in the ground and thus constituted a two-room house. The existence of a large posthole in the middle of Hut 4 indicates the existence of a conical roof.

  • 11 It has not been determined if the one-storey post framed huts were still in use.
  • 12 Compare Pantelidou-Gofa 1991, p. 159, fig. 48.

4The second phase is characterized by buildings with stone foundations11, constructed in the interior of Huts 2, 3 and 4; two sub-periods have been distinguished. The face of the strong walls was carefully made of stones with flat surfaces. No elements from the superstructure are preserved, but we suppose that it was made of raw bricks because of the lack of any evidence for a wood frame12.

  • 13 No remains of the brick superstructure have been preserved, but this seems normal because the settl (...)
  • 14 For the interpretation of pits, see Marinatos 1968; Treuil 1983, p. 325‑326; Pantelidou-Gofa 1991, (...)

5The center of the settlement is dominated by a semicircular semi-subterranean hut (Hut 5): it lies in a shallow pit 0.31‑0.66 m deep and measuring ca 6.50‑7.20 m in diameter (fig. 2). The hut covers a surface of about 6 m2 (dimensions 3.10 x 2.50 m) and has stone foundations that probably supported a brick superstructure13. Another stone wall divides the interior into two unequal spaces. The entrance to the hut was located on the northeast, where the pit walls have a smooth inclination; the opening measures 1 m. The concentration of a large quantity of products and by-products of obsidian manufacture in the interior of the hut indicates that it was probably a stone workshop. Two small storage pits14 were found outside the large pit, to the southwest.

Fig. 2Merenta. EN settlement. Semicircular hut with stone foundation (Hut 5).

  • 15 Compare Pantelidou-Gofa 1997, p. 20. Its presence in a settlement of such an early date as the one (...)

6The settlement was protected on the southwest by an enclosure made of posts and interwoven branches in a shallow trench. It was preserved at a length of 13 m. Within the trench, which is 0.50 to 0.70 m wide, seventeen large post-holes are preserved15.

  • 16 We believe that the geological variation between the eastern and western/northwestern part of the h (...)
  • 17 About the presence of pits in Neolithic settlements, see Pantelidou-Gofa 1991, p. 178‑180; Perlès 2 (...)

7To the northwest of the settlement, that is on the west/northwest part of the hill, where the natural rock consists mainly of schist, no house remains were found16. In this area three big and several smaller pits of irregular shape, quite crudely dug in the natural ground, came to light. Their dimensions vary from 8 x 7 m to 3.40 x 2.30 m, and their depth from approximately 0.20 to 1.20 m. The larger ones were probably meant to gather rainwater, while the others might have been used for storage purposes17.

  • 18 The urgency of the excavation and the extremely bad weather conditions, made it impossible to thoro (...)
  • 19 The only traces of fire were located in Pit 1 in the northwestern end of the settlement.

8The absence of food remains18, fireplaces or hearths19 from the Merenta settlement is probably due to the bad preservation of the archaeological material because of the extensive agriculture on the thin soil layer of the surface.

Fig. 3Merenta. Late Neolithic subterranean hut.

The LN house20

  • 20 Author is E. Tselepi.
  • 21 Its attribution to the Final Neolithic II by Aslanis 2010, p. 51, fig. 3.10, is erroneous.

9About 18 m away from the early Neolithic settlement a subterranean hut dating from the Late Neolithic period was found21. It has an elliptical floor plan and its dimensions are 6.15 x 4.77 m, with the deepest point at 1.80 m. Its entrance was on the northeast, where a protruding step facilitated access (fig. 3). The architectural remains show two periods of occupation.

  • 22 See supra, n. 14.

10Two storage cavities discovered in the bottom of the hut were in use during the first period. Part of their contour was defined by curved stone walls. There were three recesses in the vertical walls of the pit. The bigger one is 3 m long, 0.82 m high and 1.30 m deep from the edge of the pit. The fire layer covering its interior corroborates its interpretation as a hearth or an ash-pit during the 2nd phase of use of the hut22. The other two recesses were probably used for storing. It has not been possible to prove through excavation whether the hut was a main living area or an auxiliary space. There is no evidence at all about its roofing.

  • 23 Kakavogianni et al. 2009a, p. 152, fig. 8.

11During the next phase a smaller hut of elliptical shape was constructed on a stone foundation within the existing cavity23. The storage pits on the bottom, as well as at least one of the side recesses, were now out of use. It is possible that the inhabitants of this period kept the big side-recess as a hearth or an ash-pit. Again, no evidence from the roof has been found.

12Pottery is mainly black burnished or painted, comprising also a reasonable quantity of coarse samples. Open shapes are predominant but closed ones are present as well. No intact vessels were preserved, but it has been possible to reconstruct three vessels to a satisfactory degree: a brown-red burnished bowl with an angular profile, slightly outturned rim and an almost flat base; a black burnished bowl with a brown band on the rim; and part of a shallow burnished tray (“plateau”) with an outturning rim and a slightly convex base.

  • 24 See Douzougli 1998, p. 60‑80, with relevant bibliography.
  • 25 Kakavogianni et al. 2009a, p. 153, fig. 9. Dujmovič (1952, p. 75, table III, fig. 1) was the first (...)
  • 26 Kosmopoulos 1948, fig. 5‑6; Lavezzi 1978, p. 402‑451. Concerning the other (Elateia) type, see Soti (...)

13In the black burnished pottery, the clay is brown, fine-grained and relatively pure. Burnishing is well-made and the firing is very good24. The only decorations found on some sherds are applied oval or hemispherical pellets. Shapes comprise “fruitstands” with conical bodies and a low concave foot, deep bowls with S-shaped profiles, deep bowls with marked necks and shoulders, bowls with angular (carinated) profiles, bowls with straight or convex walls and inturned rims, as well as closed vessels with spherical bodies and low necks. In this category belongs a leg from a four-legged rhyton (fig. 4)25. It is decorated with incised oblique bands filled with regularly spaced checker motifs. Considering its lean shape and decoration, it can be ranged among those of the “type of Corinth”26.

Fig. 4Leg of a Late Neolithic rhyton, with burnished surface and incised decoration (preserved h. 11 cm).

  • 27 Compare finds from the caves of Kitsos (Lambert 1991, p. 295, fig. 178, and p. 299, fig. 186) and M (...)
  • 28 Kakavogianni et al. 2009a, p. 154, fig. 10.
  • 29 Ibid.
  • 30 Ibid., fig. 11.

14Sherds with painted decoration belong to the dark-on-light matt-painted category, known also from other sites in Attica27. The clay is well fired, fine-grained with few white-colored inclusions. The paint is matt brown, not very dark and often flaked. The background is light-colored, carefully smoothed, and sometimes covered with a thin slip. The majority of the vessels are “fruitstands” with a concave low foot, shallow bowls with conical bodies and strongly inturned rims28, bowls with angular (carinated) profiles, and closed vessels with low necks and a handle that joins the shoulder of the vessel. Among the motifs, bands of vertical lines are predominant29. There are also a few curvilinear motifs, mostly groups of arcs and wavy lines. A fragmentary conical “fruitstand” is decorated on the bowl’s interior with a continuous row of four concentric pendant arcs (festoons); from the same vessel comes a low foot decorated with groups of three arcs (fig. 5)30. The presence of plastic decorative pellets in this category is rare.

15Only one sherd of bichrome painted pottery has come to light, on which a group of three oblique brown lines is combined with a horizontal band of whitish paint.

  • 31 Ibid., p. 155, fig. 12. Compare Caskey 1956, p. 162, fig. 47: j, k (but it belongs to an EH I layer (...)

16Among the other finds, there is part of a stylized standing human figurine: the feet are two inverted triangles and the hands two small protuberances; the head is missing31. The only items of jewellery are one fragment of a bracelet made from Spondylus gaederopus shell, and two beads made of a black hard stone. Stone tools comprise a few obsidian blades, an arrowhead from the same material, and a tool made of polished stone.

Fig. 5Merenta. Mattpainted bowl from the LN house (preserved h. of bowl 9 cm, foot 10 cm).

The Final Neolithic and Early Helladic settlement32

The architectural features

  • 33 Compare supra, n. 16.

17The settlement of the FN/EH period was founded about 200 m east from that of the Early Neolithic. It lies on top of a small hill, the northern part of which consists of a yellowish limestone (marl = kimilia)33, and the southern of red clayey conglomerate. It was small, about 3500 m2, and its architectural remains are badly preserved due to the extreme thinness of the surface layer.

  • 34 Kakavogianni et al. 2009b, p. 159‑168, fig. 2. They have been numbered according to the Greek alpha (...)
  • 35 Ibid., p. 164, fig. 8.

18The earliest constructions are 6 groups of subterranean chambers carved into the marl around the hilltop, close to one another34. The chambers are organized in groups of three, and are usually found about 1 m down from the surface. They have a roughly elliptical shape (dimensions ca x 3.5 x 2 m) [fig. 6]. They connected with one another, while their interiors were subdivided with walls in which doors were opened (fig. 7)35. Access was possible through vertical, shaft-like entrances situated at the end of one of the chambers, which must have been covered with some light superstructure. The rock-carved roof, preserved in places, was supported with thick posts.

  • 36 Radiocarbon dating of a sample from cluster B, chamber 5, gives a result between 3495‑3348 cal BC ( (...)
  • 37 One date from a sample from cluster A, chamber 2, between 3262‑2916 cal BC (Lyon-7186).
  • 38 These chambers are estimated to shelter 35‑40 persons. Further study should determine if habitation (...)

19The creation of these chambers dates within the transition from the FN to the EH I period, a little after 3500 BC36, but they continued to be in use during the EH I37, whereas those in the eastern cluster (Δ) continued also during the EH II. Their careful construction, the existence of auxiliary facilities (airways, hearth with a “chimney”, etc.) and the artifacts found in their interior, lead us to the conclusion that they were used as dwellings38. The thin surface layer on this part of the hill makes it impossible to determine if there were any superstructures over the chambers.

Fig. 6Merenta. Final Neolithic subterranean chambers, Cluster A.

Fig. 7Merenta. Final Neolithic subterranean chambers, Cluster B.

  • 39 Kakavogianni et al. 2009b, p. 169, fig. 15.

20Very few architectural remains were preserved on the southern part of the hilltop. On the east there are traces of the foundation from a rectangular room, under which there is a small carved underground space with built walls, apparently for storage purposes. Another rectangular space, also carved, bigger and probably underground, was found toward the east, in front of cluster Δ. Both spaces date from the EH I period, as do some small crude structures and a shaft-like trench found in the middle of the area. Some remains from the advanced EH II period39 were excavated on the western part of the hill top: two small, rectangular buildings, one with one room, the other with two. The last traces of occupation on the hill are three small apsidal buildings of the Middle Helladic period, apparently huts of shepherds or farmers.

  • 40 Kakavogianni 1985; 1986. For a discussion, see Kakavogianni et al. 2006a, p. 407, and Kakavogianni (...)
  • 41 Todd & Croft 2004, sp. p. 214, 222, and lately, Clarke 2009, p. 41, 53, fig. 10. It is believed tha (...)
  • 42 Aeschylus, Prometheus Bound, 452; Xenophon, Anabasis, 4.5, 25; Vitruvius, De Architectura II, 1.2, (...)

21The discovery of the subterranean rock-carved chambers in Merenta was a surprise, as the only previously known parallels were those of the EH settlement at Koropi, dating from the EH I/II period. The chambers at Koropi are bigger and arranged in a different manner40. The examples from Merenta are more similar to those of Kalavassos, Cyprus, which also date from the middle of the 4th millennium BC41. Underground rock-carved chambers used as houses were also known during antiquity42.

The pottery of the FN/EH I period43

  • 43 Author is Kl. Dimitriou.

22The earliest pottery phase dates from the transitional period from the Final Neolithic to Early Helladic I (ca 3500‑3200 BC). It has been located in four of the six clusters of subterranean chambers.

  • 44 See also Tsirtsoni 2010, p. 99.

23The painted pottery that was common during the previous phases of the Neolithic has now disappeared44. Two categories have been distinguished:

  • 45 Immerwahr 1971, pl. 3: 31, pl. 3:20‑25, 31; Coleman 1977, pl. 27: vessel 27; Lambert 1981, p. 306, (...)

24a) Red burnished pottery made of a clay without admixtures. Luster is preserved on the entire surface of the vessel. Black spots are often found both on the outside surfaces (shoulders, walls) and on the inside (bases). The most common shapes are conical bowls with inturned rims, often bearing a lug or a nipple-like appendix under the rim45, and also deeper bowls with convex walls (fig. 8). There are also sherds from jars with convex walls which are getting narrower toward the bottom, and have applied buttons a little over the belly (fig. 9). In the interior of the neck of a jar there is a vertical perforated lug (fig. 10).

25b) Black burnished pottery made of a clay without admixtures. The sherds come mainly from small-sized vessels with a neck.

Fig. 8Merenta. Final Neolithic red-burnished conical bowl (h. 10 cm).

Fig. 9Merenta. Final Neolithic jar with applied decoration on the belly (preserved h. 25 cm).

Fig. 10Merenta. Neck of a Final Neolithic jar with small perforated lug in the interior (on the rim).

The EH I pottery

26The beginning of the EH I period is characterized by vessels with irregularly smoothed surfaces and walls of medium thickness. Traces of the tools used for smoothing are usually visible on the surface. The clay mixture contains a moderate amount of mineral inclusions (quartz, lime, mica). The most common categories are the following.

  • 46 For parallels see Fossey 1969, p. 58, fig. 3; Sampson 1993b, p. 36; Theocharis 1951, p. 93‑116; The (...)

27a) Pottery with brown/black smoothed, and a locally burnished surface. This category comprises big, open vessels (fig. 11), such as large bowls (diameter 27 cm, height 25 cm), with concave walls that get narrower towards the flattish base, and inturned rims from which spout pairs of single or double lugs46. The rims often bear an impressed or incised decoration. Bands of shallow oblique parallel grooves decorate the shoulder and the body.

  • 47 Kakavogianni et al. 2009b, p. 165, fig. 11 a, b.

28Some vessels of Cycladic character also exist47, such as a cylindrical pyxis with an orange-red surface, made from a clay with calcareous inclusions, and a small amphora with a dark brown surface, made from a fine clay. The latter has a cylindrical neck and a squat spherical body, decorated with two pairs of small vertical lugs on its wider section. The base is narrow and almost flat. A zigzagged incised line decorates the area between the handles (fig. 12).

  • 48 Sampson 2002, p. 61‑65; Mari 2001, p. 145‑149.

29b) Pottery with a yellow-red coarse surface on the outside and dark-colored smooth surface on the inside. The clay contains quartz and mica. Vessels of this category have mainly low, concave walls and not entirely flat bases, with impressions of herbs, mats or straw on the exterior. A series of holes under the rim have been opened from the interior48.

  • 49 Wilson 1999, p. 13‑14.

30c) Pottery with coarse brown-red surfaces. The clay contains quartz and schist inclusions. Its color can be brown-red, like that of the surface, but also grey or black. This category comprises vessels with a series of holes under the rim, either forming a horizontal line or at various heights. The walls are of uneven height, the rim asymmetrical (fig. 13) and the elliptical base is flat with a very coarse resting surface, and often with mat impressions (of circular or rectilinear pattern). The exterior bears shallow incisions while the interior is better smoothed49.

  • 50 A parallel in Talalay 1993, no. Ak. 992.

31The head of a schematic Neolithic clay figurine was found in one of the chambers of Cluster B50 (fig. 14).

Fig. 11Merenta. EH I deep bowl (h. 25 cm).

Fig. 12Merenta. EH I vessels of Cycladic character. a: cylindrical pyxis (h. 13 cm); b: small collared pot (amphoriskos) with incised decoration (h. 6 cm).

Fig. 13Merenta. EH I assymetrical open vessel with row of holes under the rim and mat impression on the base.

Fig. 14Merenta. FN figurine from Cluster B chambers.

The remains of metallurgy and metalworking51

  • 51 Author is K. Douni.
  • 52 Kakavogianni et al. 2008, p. 47‑51; Douni et al., forthcoming.
  • 53 Gale & Stos-Gale 2002; Zachos 2010.

32The recent excavations in Southeastern Attica brought to light a considerable number of metal finds52 and contributed to a reconsideration of the beginning of metallurgy in the Aegean53. The prehistoric settlement of the FN/EH I and EH I‑II periods in Merenta is one among many newly discovered sites with remarkable metallurgical activity.

  • 54 Kakavogianni et al. 2009b, p. 165, 171.
  • 55 Douni et al., forthcoming.
  • 56 The litharge from the EH cemetery in Tsepi, Marathon, belongs probably to this type (Pantelidou-Gof (...)
  • 57 Litharge pieces of this type have been found in Limenaria, Thasos (Papadopoulos 2008, p. 62, fig. 5 (...)
  • 58 Kakavogianni et al. 2009c, p. 238, fig. 3: 9.

33From the various phases of the settlement we collected altogether 80 fragments of litharge, 8 pieces of copper slag, 1 clay casting mould for a copper tool, part of a small copper tool, a lead lump, and one lead join54. Litharge pieces are the most frequent finds and mainly belong to the flat bottom bowl type (fig. 15)55. This type is known from several sites not only in Attica56 but also in the broader Aegean area57. It has no cavities in the bottom, as is the case of the specimens from the workshop in Lambrika at Koropi58. The litharge pieces have been found in various parts of the settlement, often among the other metallurgical remains.

Fig. 15Fragments of litharge “bowls” from Merenta (FN/EH I period).

  • 59 Inside chamber 7, litharge pieces have been found in layers under the one dated at 3495‑3348 cal BC (...)
  • 60 The reference to a litharge find from layer c in the Kitsos cave (Lambert 1981, p. 427, pl. 54) is (...)

3434 litharge pieces came to light from the subterranean chambers of the transitional FN/EH I and EH I periods: the largest sets were found in clusters A (11 pieces) and B (13 pieces). They were found together with large quantities of pottery, stone tools and other objects, and thus it is impossible to consider them as evidence of metallurgical activities inside the chambers. However, their discovery in a closed context from cluster B, which according to the latest evidence could date from the middle of the 4th millennium BC59, leads us to the conclusion that these are the earliest litharge pieces known so far60.

35Besides the chambers, evidence of metallurgical activity comes from three other areas.

3611 litharge fragments, 2 pieces of copper slag and 1 copper lump were found in the northwest part of the settlement, in a small isolated pit of the EH I. Although there are no signs of combustion inside the pit or any other sign that would connect it directly to the metallurgical process, the big concentration of metallic finds and the absence of pottery could suggest some kind of activity relevant to metallurgy.

  • 61 Kakavogianni et al. 2009b, p. 172. See also Petrou 2008.

37In a small isolated building of the EH I period61, eastwards from the settlement, one fragment of flat litharge came to light. In the same assemblage a small quantity of pottery and many stone tools (obsidian blades and cores, grindstones and grinders) were found, finds that could characterize the room as workshop.

  • 62 Kakavogianni et al. 2009b, p. 171.

38The space adjacent to the small one-room building of the EH II period in the southwest part of the settlement (supra, p. 443) might have served the same purpose. It yielded 8 fragments of litharge, 3 pieces of copper slag, part of a clay mould, a fragment of copper foil, a small lump of lead, and a small lead joint (the latter was found in the interior of the building). An impressive quantity of obsidian came to light from the same space (blades, flakes, and cores) along with a big quantity of shells62.

  • 63 Konofagos 1980, p. 304.
  • 64 Kakavogianni et al. 2006b; Kakavogianni et al. 2008, p. 47 sq.; Kakavogianni et al. 2009b, p. 241‑2 (...)
  • 65 Andrikou 2007; Douni et al., forthcoming; Georgakopoulou, forthcoming.
  • 66 Zachos 2010, p. 90.

39Litharge is direct evidence for the processing of argentiferous lead63. The quantity of litharge that came to light in Merenta is altogether large, and greater than that of the other metallic finds. In this sense, the picture is comparable to that of nearby sites, such as Koropi and Lambrika. However, there is no evidence here for an organized workshop for the cupellation of the argentiferous lead, like those found in Lambrika, Koropi64, and in Zapani, Keratea65. The discovery of litharge in the same context with residues from copper processing (slag) and with objects related to metalworking (moulds), suggests the existence of copper- and lead- metallurgy and metalworking on a small scale for the needs of the settlement. Furthermore, the fact that the first finds relevant to metallurgy in the area date from the end of the FN is an additional argument for the existence of a “remarkable polymetallurgy” during this period in the Aegean66, and especially in Southeastern Attica, so rich in metals.

The Neolithic Period67 in Southeastern Attica: state of research68

  • 67 Periodization according to the chronological tables in Papathanasopoulos 1996, p. 28‑29, and Papadi (...)
  • 68 Author is O. Kakavogianni.
  • 69 Wickens 1986.
  • 70 The coastline must have been much further offshore, as the sea level has risen since (see Sampson 2 (...)

40The landscape of Southeastern Attica is a combination of small plains, mountains and hills with many karst caves and rock shelters69, surrounded by safe coasts70 with harbors leading to Euboea, the Cyclades and the Argo-Saronic Gulf.

  • 71 Theocharis 1954b; Theocharis 1956.
  • 72 Pantelidou-Gofa 1997. To these sites we should add the cave of Brauron, and cite the point of a bon (...)

41Between the first excavation of the Neolithic settlement in Nea Makri by Dimitrios Theocharis71 and the late 1990s, 14 sites had come to light72. But during the last two decades research was extended and took on a more systematic character due to the important public works and the increased urbanization of Attica. Many new prehistoric sites have been excavated, thus practically doubling the number of known sites in Southeastern Attica.

  • 73 Steinhauer 2005b; Steinhauer 2009a.
  • 74 We would like to thank Mrs Anastasia Rammou for the information.
  • 75 In the site of Gyalou, a small part of an EN settlement has been excavated with small built, mostly (...)
  • 76 Raftopoulou 2013, p. 139‑140.
  • 77 Kakavogianni et al. 2006a, p. 404.
  • 78 Steinhauer 2005b, p. 158, fig. 1; p. 160, fig. 2. Compare Perlès 2001, p. 186; Aslanis 2010, p. 39.
  • 79 Compare Perlès 2001, p. 180‑184. A house model from Plateia Magoula Zarkou enlightens us on the com (...)
  • 80 Pantelidou-Gofa 1991, p. 176‑178.
  • 81 The earliest example of a “subterranean” hut from Southern Greece, also including a small undergrou (...)

42Six of these sites date from the Early Neolithic period: Pallini73, Hymettus-Rafina Highway74, Spata75, Paiania, Kalyvia76 and Merenta. The latter has been excavated thoroughly (supra, p. 437‑439), and the one at Pallini has been excavated to a great extent (ca 5000 m2). The part of the Pallini settlement that has been investigated seems to belong to one phase, and shows remarkable “urban” organization77. It comprises two distinct “quarters” and small rectangular buildings with well-built foundations78, apparently with an upper storey or a mezzanine, designed to house a “nuclear” family79. The northern side of the settlement was protected by an enclosure. In the center, a paved square with a well and about twenty small, post-framed storerooms, which have parallels in the Nea Makri settlement80. The buildings at Spata are similar. The other settlements are small, with post-framed huts, often with a more or less sunken floors81. They did not yield many finds and seem to have been occupied for a short period of time.

  • 82 Only two vessels found in the Hymettus-Raphina highway, near the EN settlement, seem to date from t (...)

43The Middle Neolithic is very poorly represented in the area, at least as far as we can judge from publications82.

  • 83 Theocharis 1956, p. 1; Traill & Diamant 1986, p. 120‑121. In 1994, Kl. Efstratiou investigated a sm (...)
  • 84 Pantelidou-Gofa 1997, p. 124. Part of the settlement was excavated by Kl. Efstratiou a few years ag (...)
  • 85 Skaraki & Stathi 2013, p. 235‑237.
  • 86 Supra, n. 77.
  • 87 Lambert 1981.
  • 88 Karali et al. 2006, p. 36 sq.
  • 89 Finds in the Collection of the American School of Classical Studies no. A96 and A100 respectively, (...)
  • 90 Wickens 1986, p. 199. Finds in the Collection of the American School of Classical Studies (no. A186 (...)
  • 91 See also Aslanis 2010, p. 41.
  • 92 Skaraki & Stathi 2013.
  • 93 Supra, n. 27.

44On the contrary the Late Neolithic is represented in more sites, five caves and six open-air sites. The latter are: Poussi Kalogeri83, Brauron84, Merenta (supra, p. 440‑441), two recently discovered sites in Loutsa85, and one at Kalyvia86. This period is characterized by the permanent or seasonal occupation of caves (Kitsos87, Leontari88, Brauron and Merenta-Kouvaras89, Keratea90, and others), and the presence of underground dwellings (Merenta91, Loutsa92). The presence of matt-painted pottery is characteristic for the material culture of this period93.

  • 94 Spitaels 1982. Kl. Efstratiou also found sherds with pattern-burnished decoration at the base of a (...)

45The first part of the last phase of the Neolithic period, known as the Final Neolithic (second half of the 5th millennium BC), seems again to be represented by very few sites: Thorikos, and the caves of Kitsos and Leontari94. It is characterized by the presence of pottery covered with a thick coating (“crusted ware”), and pottery decorated by differential polishing (“pattern burnished”).

  • 95 Theocharis 1956, p. 1; Efstratiou et al. 2009, p. 233.
  • 96 J. Coleman also dates the start of the settlement in this period (Coleman 2011, p. 20).
  • 97 Supra, n. 75.
  • 98 About the question of the “gap” in settlement in Southern Greece during the first half of the 4th m (...)

46According to the present data, occupation rarely continues at the same sites after the FN I. But new settlements are founded towards the end of the second part of the period (FN II, about 3500 BC), in many sites, such as Askitario, Loutsa95, Lamptres, Lambrika, Merenta96, Spata97 and the Zagani hill, as well as on the heights of Lavreotiki. Thus, we have the impression, for the moment, that there is discontinuity in the land’s occupation during the first half of the 4th millennium BC98.

  • 99 Pantelidou-Gofa 1997, p. 123 sq.; Steinhauer 2001, p. 30‑34; Steinhauer 2009b, p. 216‑218.
  • 100 Steinhauer 2001, p. 30‑31.
  • 101 The site is named Kontra Gliate/Psilokoryfi, but is known in archaeological literature as Kiafa Thi (...)
  • 102 Kakavogianni et al. 2009c, p. 238, 241‑244.
  • 103 Kakavogianni 2005, p. 175, 189.

47The only sites excavated so far are the fortified acropolis at Zagani (Spata)99 and the settlement at Merenta with the subterranean rock-carved chambers (supra, p. 442‑443). The houses of the prehistoric acropolis at Zagani are rectangular, form two groups and are built against the northern and eastern branches of the fortification wall; some of them have a floor plan of the “megaron” type100. A strong retaining enclosure has also been located in the prehistoric acropolis of Lamptres101; in the vicinity is the EHI/II settlement of Lambrika, where a metallurgical workshop for the cupellation of argentiferous lead and extraction of silver was established during the advanced EH I period102. Finally, a few small huts of elliptical shape were found in Houmeza, Spata103.

  • 104 Kakavogianni et al., forthcoming. See also Tsirtsoni 2010, p. 97.
  • 105 Lambert 1981, p. 291, fig. 171‑174, p. 288, fig. 167, p. 286, fig. 165‑166; and p. 306, fig. 198, p (...)

48Pottery in the aforementioned settlements presents obvious differences from the previous Neolithic tradition104. The change is very clearly seen in the 3rd and 2nd layers of the Kitsos cave105 and in Merenta (supra, p. 443).

  • 106 Lohmann 1993, p. 111‑112, with list of sites; Lohmann et al. 2002; Kakavogianni et al. 2008, p. 46.
  • 107 The remains of mineral exploitation in the Lavreotiki, either from prehistoric times or antiquity, (...)
  • 108 Zachos 2010, p. 79 sq.; Tsirtsoni 2010, p. 14‑15.
  • 109 The fact that the argentiferous lead ores in the Lavreotiki were exploited at least during the EH I (...)

49It is interesting to note that during this period many settlements are created in remote places, especially in the area of Lavreotiki106, where there are also numerous small mining galleries, as well as many remains of mining activity on the surface (especially mineral colors, ochre)107. These features seem to be connected to the main technological evolution to which this period owes its name, “Chalcolithic”108, i.e. the extraction and smelting of minerals, and the production of metals109.

  • 110 Zachos 2010, p. 82.
  • 111 Phelps et al. 1979, p. 176, no. 120, pl. 22.1. Kakavogianni 2001, p. 26 and more recently, Zachos 2 (...)
  • 112 The pin from the 3rd layer was dated to 4250 BC (Gif-1610), and is made of pure copper (Lambert 198 (...)
  • 113 The litharge pieces from the subterranean chambers are, as already mentioned (supra, p. 446), the e (...)
  • 114 To estimate the skill of the metalworkers during the FN/EH I period, an analysis of the lead joint (...)
  • 115 The discovery of silver jewellery in layers from the beginning of the Final Neolithic in the settle (...)

50We already mentioned that metallurgical activities are well attested in the entire Aegean area110, but in Attica are not abundant. A copper axe from Spata could be connected with the FN/EH I period settlement in Zagani111. The copper pin from the 3rd layer of the Kitsos cave112, and of course the copper slag and the 34 pieces of litharge from the subterranean chambers of the FN/EH I period settlement and from the small circular building in Merenta are safer evidence (supra, p. 446‑447)113. Litharge is a by-product of the cupellation of argentiferous lead and its presence directly attests the practice of this process in Attica114 at least since the middle of the 4th millennium BC115.

  • 116 Lambert 1981, p. 455.

51It is worth noting that no graves have been found in the two prehistoric settlements of Merenta and no organized cemeteries in the surrounding region, although research was quite thorough due to the large-scale public works. This is a common observation in all Southeastern Attica. The only human remains reported are those from the Kitsos cave, but which are not attributed to burials116.

  • 117 Konsola 1984, p. 163 sq., Konsola 1986, p. 11. The same characteristics are present in the settleme (...)
  • 118 Kakavogianni 2001, p. 36‑42; Kakavogianni 2008, p. 96‑99.
  • 119 Kakavogianni et al. 2009a, p. 172‑173.

52Southeastern Attica seems to flourish during the following period, the Early Bronze Age (EH I‑II). Many settlements are created, some of which are big and present signs of urban organization117, as well as a sophisticated and rich way of life118. But during the EH II, the settlement with the subterranean chambers in Merenta is small and the finds are poor. Part of an apsidal building dating from the end of the EH II (fig. 16: a-b), founded upon an older layer, has been excavated on top of another hill, 500 m south of the settlement, in the area where much later would be the religious center of the antique demos of Myrrinous119.

Fig. 16 - Merenta. Pottery from the apsidal building of the end of EH II: a, globular pot, dark-on-light painted (h. 7 cm); b, spouted pot, red-brown burnished (h. 23.5 cm).

Notes

4 Text translated from Greek by Athina Pediaditaki-Nalbant.

5 Pantelidou-Gofa 1997, p. 10; Kakavogianni 2008, p. 94.

6 Authors are E. Tselepi and Chr. Katsavou. The settlement is presented here very briefly as it is outside the chronological scope of this book. We concentrate mainly on the elements of spatial organization, since many of them are present in the later settlements. For a more detailed presentation, see Kakavogianni et al. 2009a.

7 Concerning the prehistoric occupation of the Mesogaia region, see Kakavogianni 2008. The pottery has many parallels with Nea Makri, especially phases 1 and 2 (Pantelidou-Gofa 1997, p. 31‑43), as well as with Pallini, the material of which has been very little presented (Steinhauer 2005b, p. 162, fig. 6).

8 It has been proposed that the pits were not houses but the result of clay extraction activities (Perlès 2001, p. 184‑185). However recent research data prove that carefully made pits in the natural soil were indeed houses and auxiliary spaces. See examples from Nea Makri (Pantelidou-Gofa 1991, p. 24, pl. 20; p. 127, pl. 127), and from other sites in Thessaly and Northern Greece: Makrygialos (Besios & Pappa 1990/1995, p. 22, fig. 6); Promachon-Topolnitsa (Koukouli-Chrysanthaki et al. 1995); Kremasti Koiladha (Hondroyanni-Metoki 1999); Platykambos (Toufexis 1999, p. 425, fig. 4); Stavroupoli (Grammenos & Kotsos 2002, p. 323‑324), all from later phases of the Neolithic. Compare also the subterranean LN house at the very site of Merenta (infra, and fig. 3). Concerning the presence of post-holes, see also Kakavogianni et al. 2006a, p. 404.

9 Compare Pantelidou-Gofa 1991, p. 131, fig. 128; Pantelidou-Gofa 1997, p. 68, fig. 55‑56. The post-framed house of Nea Makri is a later example.

10 For a proposed reconstruction of the post-framed walls and the roof of such huts, see Pantelidou-Gofa 1991, p. 26‑31, fig. 27 (MN period). In the case of Hut 1 there were also interior supports.

11 It has not been determined if the one-storey post framed huts were still in use.

12 Compare Pantelidou-Gofa 1991, p. 159, fig. 48.

13 No remains of the brick superstructure have been preserved, but this seems normal because the settlement was not destroyed by fire. Brick superstructures are known from parallels from the same period: see Perlès 2001, table 9.1.

14 For the interpretation of pits, see Marinatos 1968; Treuil 1983, p. 325‑326; Pantelidou-Gofa 1991, p. 13‑15, fig. 8, 10, and p. 178; Pantelidou-Gofa 1997, p. 21, fig. 9; Perlès 2001, p. 193‑194.

15 Compare Pantelidou-Gofa 1997, p. 20. Its presence in a settlement of such an early date as the one at Merenta, is noteworthy. The presence of enclosures, either defensive or simple boundaries, single, double, or arranged in “systems”, is more common in the following periods (the Middle and especially Late Neolithic). These are often strong and extended stone constructions. See recent discussion in Aslanis 2010, p. 46 sq., fig. 3.7a.

16 We believe that the geological variation between the eastern and western/northwestern part of the hill determined the development of the residential core of the settlement on the stable limestone soil (locally called kimilia) of the eastern part.

17 About the presence of pits in Neolithic settlements, see Pantelidou-Gofa 1991, p. 178‑180; Perlès 2001, p. 193‑194. Concerning the use of pits for the concentration of rainwater, see Korošec 1958, p. 149‑150. Gathering and exploiting rainwater is vital in sites where the subterranean water table is not accessible through wells, like those found in neighbouring Nea Makri (Pantelidou-Gofa 1991, p. 104‑108, fig. 98‑101).

18 The urgency of the excavation and the extremely bad weather conditions, made it impossible to thoroughly examine all the deposits. A small part was examined with the water-sieving method but no grains have been detected. Most of the examined soil samples were sterile. Only a few yielded some pollen particles of wild flora, and one, from the foundation trench of the western wall of Hut 5, yielded very few pollen particles of cultivated cereals. The study was made by Dr Katerina Kouli, at the Laboratory of the Faculty of Geology and Geo-Environment, Department of Historical Geology-Paleontology of the University of Athens.

19 The only traces of fire were located in Pit 1 in the northwestern end of the settlement.

20 Author is E. Tselepi.

21 Its attribution to the Final Neolithic II by Aslanis 2010, p. 51, fig. 3.10, is erroneous.

22 See supra, n. 14.

23 Kakavogianni et al. 2009a, p. 152, fig. 8.

24 See Douzougli 1998, p. 60‑80, with relevant bibliography.

25 Kakavogianni et al. 2009a, p. 153, fig. 9. Dujmovič (1952, p. 75, table III, fig. 1) was the first to call these vessels rhyta. They have been interpreted as ceremonial because of their shape: Korošec 1958, p. 156‑157; Weinberg 1962, p. 194‑195; Gimbutas et al. 1989, p. 118, fig. 186; Lavezzi 1978, p. 421; Douzougli 1998, p. 85‑86. This type of vessel is found in many sites on the Greek mainland from Thessaly to Laconia: see Douzougli 1998, p. 82‑84 (with the relevant bibliography); also Sophronidou & Tsirtsoni 2007, p. 250‑251, 262. It is also found in Albania and the region of former Yugoslavia, and it is actually thought to emerge from the Adriatic. However some such finds from the Achilleion, date almost 500 years before their Yugoslavian equivalents. That is why both their shape and their use are thought to have emerged from the south and not from the north: Gimbutas et al. 1989, p. 208, table 7.68: 1, 2. More recent evidence from Adriatic sites however counters this assumption (Biagi 2003).

26 Kosmopoulos 1948, fig. 5‑6; Lavezzi 1978, p. 402‑451. Concerning the other (Elateia) type, see Sotiriadis 1905, p. 137, fig. 9; Sotiriadis 1908, p. 68‑94, fig. 7.

27 Compare finds from the caves of Kitsos (Lambert 1991, p. 295, fig. 178, and p. 299, fig. 186) and Marathonas (Papathanasopoulos 1996, p. 267, no. 125). For a general discussion, see Douzougli 1998, p. 93‑109, with relevant bibliography.

28 Kakavogianni et al. 2009a, p. 154, fig. 10.

29 Ibid.

30 Ibid., fig. 11.

31 Ibid., p. 155, fig. 12. Compare Caskey 1956, p. 162, fig. 47: j, k (but it belongs to an EH I layer).

32 Author is O. Kakavogianni. We discuss here only the remains in the main body of the settlement, leaving aside the isolated buildings discovered in two neighbouring hills, one circular from the EH I period and one apsidal from the advanced EH II: see Kakavogianni et al. 2009b, p. 172; Petrou 2008.

33 Compare supra, n. 16.

34 Kakavogianni et al. 2009b, p. 159‑168, fig. 2. They have been numbered according to the Greek alphabetical system (Α-ΣΤ).

35 Ibid., p. 164, fig. 8.

36 Radiocarbon dating of a sample from cluster B, chamber 5, gives a result between 3495‑3348 cal BC (Lyon-7184), whereas two other samples from chamber 7, in the same cluster, give results between 3362‑3125 cal BC (Lyon-7910 and Lyon-7185). See also chapter 2 in this volume, p. 58. All the calibrations are at 2s.

37 One date from a sample from cluster A, chamber 2, between 3262‑2916 cal BC (Lyon-7186).

38 These chambers are estimated to shelter 35‑40 persons. Further study should determine if habitation was permanent or seasonal.

39 Kakavogianni et al. 2009b, p. 169, fig. 15.

40 Kakavogianni 1985; 1986. For a discussion, see Kakavogianni et al. 2006a, p. 407, and Kakavogianni et al., forthcoming. The recent discovery at Loutsa, also on the eastern coast of Mesogaia, of semi-subterranean rock-carved constructions, possibly chambers, which yielded Late Neolithic pottery, is of particular importance (Skaraki & Stathi 2013).

41 Todd & Croft 2004, sp. p. 214, 222, and lately, Clarke 2009, p. 41, 53, fig. 10. It is believed that their prototypes are to be found in similar constructions from Beersheva in Southern Palestine. The relationship of the subterranean chambers in Merenta with those in Kalavassos, Cyprus, was first pointed out to us by Prof. E. Mantzourani.

42 Aeschylus, Prometheus Bound, 452; Xenophon, Anabasis, 4.5, 25; Vitruvius, De Architectura II, 1.2, 8, and II, 1.5, 1.

43 Author is Kl. Dimitriou.

44 See also Tsirtsoni 2010, p. 99.

45 Immerwahr 1971, pl. 3: 31, pl. 3:20‑25, 31; Coleman 1977, pl. 27: vessel 27; Lambert 1981, p. 306, fig. 198, and p. 316, fig. 227‑228; Spitaels 1982, fig. 16.

46 For parallels see Fossey 1969, p. 58, fig. 3; Sampson 1993b, p. 36; Theocharis 1951, p. 93‑116; Theocharis 1954a, p. 59‑76.

47 Kakavogianni et al. 2009b, p. 165, fig. 11 a, b.

48 Sampson 2002, p. 61‑65; Mari 2001, p. 145‑149.

49 Wilson 1999, p. 13‑14.

50 A parallel in Talalay 1993, no. Ak. 992.

51 Author is K. Douni.

52 Kakavogianni et al. 2008, p. 47‑51; Douni et al., forthcoming.

53 Gale & Stos-Gale 2002; Zachos 2010.

54 Kakavogianni et al. 2009b, p. 165, 171.

55 Douni et al., forthcoming.

56 The litharge from the EH cemetery in Tsepi, Marathon, belongs probably to this type (Pantelidou-Gofa 2005, p. 323‑324), as well as the litharge found in a Classical Age deposit from the surface layer in the Kitsos cave (Lambert 1981, p. 422, fig. 285, and p. 424, fig. 287: 2).

57 Litharge pieces of this type have been found in Limenaria, Thasos (Papadopoulos 2008, p. 62, fig. 5a) and Akrotiraki, Sifnos.

58 Kakavogianni et al. 2009c, p. 238, fig. 3: 9.

59 Inside chamber 7, litharge pieces have been found in layers under the one dated at 3495‑3348 cal BC: supra, n. 36.

60 The reference to a litharge find from layer c in the Kitsos cave (Lambert 1981, p. 427, pl. 54) is not correct, as there is no such find and the number given refers to a metal object: see also Kakavogianni et al. 2008, p. 46, n. 9. Litharge pieces from the metallurgical workshop in Lambrika date from the advanced EH I period (ibid., p. 47; Kakavogianni et al. 2009c, p. 244).

61 Kakavogianni et al. 2009b, p. 172. See also Petrou 2008.

62 Kakavogianni et al. 2009b, p. 171.

63 Konofagos 1980, p. 304.

64 Kakavogianni et al. 2006b; Kakavogianni et al. 2008, p. 47 sq.; Kakavogianni et al. 2009b, p. 241‑244.

65 Andrikou 2007; Douni et al., forthcoming; Georgakopoulou, forthcoming.

66 Zachos 2010, p. 90.

67 Periodization according to the chronological tables in Papathanasopoulos 1996, p. 28‑29, and Papadimitriou & Tsirtsoni 2010, p. 14‑15.

68 Author is O. Kakavogianni.

69 Wickens 1986.

70 The coastline must have been much further offshore, as the sea level has risen since (see Sampson 2006, p. 205). According to some experts it may have risen up to 4 m since the 3rd millennium BC (Kambouroglou 1993, p. 252), or 20 m since the 5th millennium BC (Mariolakos & Theocharis 2001). For a different opinion, see Mariolakos et al. 2013, p. 190 sq.

71 Theocharis 1954b; Theocharis 1956.

72 Pantelidou-Gofa 1997. To these sites we should add the cave of Brauron, and cite the point of a bone weapon found there, dating from ca 10000 BC: see Trnka 1995, p. 105‑106.

73 Steinhauer 2005b; Steinhauer 2009a.

74 We would like to thank Mrs Anastasia Rammou for the information.

75 In the site of Gyalou, a small part of an EN settlement has been excavated with small built, mostly rectangular houses, as well and an installation of the FN II period (Ginalas et al. 2015).

76 Raftopoulou 2013, p. 139‑140.

77 Kakavogianni et al. 2006a, p. 404.

78 Steinhauer 2005b, p. 158, fig. 1; p. 160, fig. 2. Compare Perlès 2001, p. 186; Aslanis 2010, p. 39.

79 Compare Perlès 2001, p. 180‑184. A house model from Plateia Magoula Zarkou enlightens us on the composition of a Neolithic family: it contains 8 figurines of different sizes, representing ancestors, parents and children. See Papathanasopoulos 1996, p. 329, no. 266, and more recently, Treuil 2010, p. 54, fig. 4.1.

80 Pantelidou-Gofa 1991, p. 176‑178.

81 The earliest example of a “subterranean” hut from Southern Greece, also including a small underground side-chamber, was excavated at Dendra, in Argolis, and dates from the Pre-pottery Neolithic: Deilaki-Protonotariou 1992, p. 106 sq., and additional information from the excavator Mrs Dina Kaza-Papageorgiou.

82 Only two vessels found in the Hymettus-Raphina highway, near the EN settlement, seem to date from this period; they could belong to a grave. It is also reported that the MN is present in the Neolithic settlements of Brauron and Poussi Kalogeri (Pantelidou-Gofa 1997, p. 127).

83 Theocharis 1956, p. 1; Traill & Diamant 1986, p. 120‑121. In 1994, Kl. Efstratiou investigated a small part of the site on the southwestern side of the mound (about 150 m away from the ancient well).

84 Pantelidou-Gofa 1997, p. 124. Part of the settlement was excavated by Kl. Efstratiou a few years ago on the northeastern foothills of the Brauron hill, during the landscaping works.

85 Skaraki & Stathi 2013, p. 235‑237.

86 Supra, n. 77.

87 Lambert 1981.

88 Karali et al. 2006, p. 36 sq.

89 Finds in the Collection of the American School of Classical Studies no. A96 and A100 respectively, and more recently: Mari et al. 2013, p. 169‑182.

90 Wickens 1986, p. 199. Finds in the Collection of the American School of Classical Studies (no. A186) include matt-painted pottery. See also Mavridis 2015.

91 See also Aslanis 2010, p. 41.

92 Skaraki & Stathi 2013.

93 Supra, n. 27.

94 Spitaels 1982. Kl. Efstratiou also found sherds with pattern-burnished decoration at the base of a small trench during the research conducted on the Zagani hill.

95 Theocharis 1956, p. 1; Efstratiou et al. 2009, p. 233.

96 J. Coleman also dates the start of the settlement in this period (Coleman 2011, p. 20).

97 Supra, n. 75.

98 About the question of the “gap” in settlement in Southern Greece during the first half of the 4th millennium BC and the appearance of many new settlements after its middle, as well as regarding theories about the migration movements of Northern tribes during this period, see Coleman 2011, p. 29; Giannopoulos 2013, p. 569 sq. (I thank Mr A. Haniotis for offering me this very useful book).

99 Pantelidou-Gofa 1997, p. 123 sq.; Steinhauer 2001, p. 30‑34; Steinhauer 2009b, p. 216‑218.

100 Steinhauer 2001, p. 30‑31.

101 The site is named Kontra Gliate/Psilokoryfi, but is known in archaeological literature as Kiafa Thiti. See Rozaki 1982; Douzougli 1992, p. 277; Lauter 1996, p. 11; Nazou 2015.

102 Kakavogianni et al. 2009c, p. 238, 241‑244.

103 Kakavogianni 2005, p. 175, 189.

104 Kakavogianni et al., forthcoming. See also Tsirtsoni 2010, p. 97.

105 Lambert 1981, p. 291, fig. 171‑174, p. 288, fig. 167, p. 286, fig. 165‑166; and p. 306, fig. 198, p. 316, fig. 226‑228.

106 Lohmann 1993, p. 111‑112, with list of sites; Lohmann et al. 2002; Kakavogianni et al. 2008, p. 46.

107 The remains of mineral exploitation in the Lavreotiki, either from prehistoric times or antiquity, are scarce, as every subsequent era with more advanced metallurgical technology re-used all remnants of previous activity, especially during the 19th and 20th century AD.

108 Zachos 2010, p. 79 sq.; Tsirtsoni 2010, p. 14‑15.

109 The fact that the argentiferous lead ores in the Lavreotiki were exploited at least during the EH I, has been confirmed indirectly by isotopic analysis, which showed that litharge samples from Lambrika and Koropi were produced from ores of the Lavrion region.

110 Zachos 2010, p. 82.

111 Phelps et al. 1979, p. 176, no. 120, pl. 22.1. Kakavogianni 2001, p. 26 and more recently, Zachos 2010, p. 86, fig. 6‑6b, and p. 122, fig. 70.

112 The pin from the 3rd layer was dated to 4250 BC (Gif-1610), and is made of pure copper (Lambert 1981, p. 425, n. 4). Concerning the erroneous reference to the discovery of litharge in the same layer, see supra, n. 60.

113 The litharge pieces from the subterranean chambers are, as already mentioned (supra, p. 446), the earliest known so far from Attica. It would be important to have an accurate date for the litharge from Tsepi, Marathon (supra, n. 56), the use of which lasts through the entire EH I, but the begin a little earlier (see Coleman 2011, p. 28). The “flat” litharge from the small circular building in Merenta (supra, n. 60), also dates from the EH I and is so far the earliest of this type. The bowl-shaped litharge from the “west quarter” of the EH settlement at Koropi dates from the same period (Kakavogianni & Douni 2009, p. 392), but is probably a little earlier than the metallurgical workshop of argentiferous lead at Lambrika. The latter dates to the advanced EH I period (Kakavogianni et al. 2009c, p. 241‑244) and is remarkable for the hundreds of bowl-shaped litharge pieces with cavities in their bottoms. This could mean that the small cavities were devised later, before the end of the EH I, for functional reasons, and would be an “Attic invention”.

114 To estimate the skill of the metalworkers during the FN/EH I period, an analysis of the lead joint and the small lead lump should be undertaken, since these are the earliest lead objects from Eastern Attica. It would thus be possible to examine to what degree silver has been extracted from the lead.

115 The discovery of silver jewellery in layers from the beginning of the Final Neolithic in the settlement of Ftelia in the Cyclades (Sampson 2002, p. 124), as well as in the Alepotrypa cave at Mani (Papathanasopoulos 1996, p. 227) and the cave of Euripides on Salamis (Mari 2003, p. 50 sq.), of course attests indirectly an even earlier use of the cupellation process in the Aegean (see Zachos 2010, p. 88), unless some of them are imported. The analysis of two samples of silver jewellery from Alepotrypa (without specifying precisely which items exactly are concerned) showed that the metal came from Lavrion (Gale & Stos-Gale 2008, p. 399). The earliest known examples of litharge are from Southeastern Turkey and date from the beginning of the 4th millennium BC: Hess et al. 1998.

116 Lambert 1981, p. 455.

117 Konsola 1984, p. 163 sq., Konsola 1986, p. 11. The same characteristics are present in the settlement in the northern part of Koropi for example (Kakavogianni & Douni 2009, p. 389‑393), and lately Andrikou 2013.

118 Kakavogianni 2001, p. 36‑42; Kakavogianni 2008, p. 96‑99.

119 Kakavogianni et al. 2009a, p. 172‑173.

Table des illustrations

Légende Fig. 1Map of Southeastern Attica with the Final Neolithic and Early Helladic I sites.
URL http://books.openedition.org/momeditions/docannexe/image/545/img-1.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 424k
Légende Fig. 2Merenta. EN settlement. Semicircular hut with stone foundation (Hut 5).
URL http://books.openedition.org/momeditions/docannexe/image/545/img-2.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 92k
Légende Fig. 3Merenta. Late Neolithic subterranean hut.
URL http://books.openedition.org/momeditions/docannexe/image/545/img-3.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 332k
Légende Fig. 4Leg of a Late Neolithic rhyton, with burnished surface and incised decoration (preserved h. 11 cm).
URL http://books.openedition.org/momeditions/docannexe/image/545/img-4.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 8,0k
Légende Fig. 5Merenta. Mattpainted bowl from the LN house (preserved h. of bowl 9 cm, foot 10 cm).
URL http://books.openedition.org/momeditions/docannexe/image/545/img-5.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 16k
Légende Fig. 6Merenta. Final Neolithic subterranean chambers, Cluster A.
URL http://books.openedition.org/momeditions/docannexe/image/545/img-6.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 136k
Légende Fig. 7Merenta. Final Neolithic subterranean chambers, Cluster B.
URL http://books.openedition.org/momeditions/docannexe/image/545/img-7.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 112k
Légende Fig. 8Merenta. Final Neolithic red-burnished conical bowl (h. 10 cm).
URL http://books.openedition.org/momeditions/docannexe/image/545/img-8.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 16k
Légende Fig. 9Merenta. Final Neolithic jar with applied decoration on the belly (preserved h. 25 cm).
URL http://books.openedition.org/momeditions/docannexe/image/545/img-9.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 76k
Légende Fig. 10Merenta. Neck of a Final Neolithic jar with small perforated lug in the interior (on the rim).
URL http://books.openedition.org/momeditions/docannexe/image/545/img-10.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 12k
Légende Fig. 11Merenta. EH I deep bowl (h. 25 cm).
URL http://books.openedition.org/momeditions/docannexe/image/545/img-11.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 56k
Légende Fig. 12Merenta. EH I vessels of Cycladic character. a: cylindrical pyxis (h. 13 cm); b: small collared pot (amphoriskos) with incised decoration (h. 6 cm).
URL http://books.openedition.org/momeditions/docannexe/image/545/img-12.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 36k
Légende Fig. 13Merenta. EH I assymetrical open vessel with row of holes under the rim and mat impression on the base.
URL http://books.openedition.org/momeditions/docannexe/image/545/img-13.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 28k
Légende Fig. 14Merenta. FN figurine from Cluster B chambers.
URL http://books.openedition.org/momeditions/docannexe/image/545/img-14.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 56k
Légende Fig. 15Fragments of litharge “bowls” from Merenta (FN/EH I period).
URL http://books.openedition.org/momeditions/docannexe/image/545/img-15.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 32k
Légende Fig. 16 - Merenta. Pottery from the apsidal building of the end of EH II: a, globular pot, dark-on-light painted (h. 7 cm); b, spouted pot, red-brown burnished (h. 23.5 cm).
URL http://books.openedition.org/momeditions/docannexe/image/545/img-16.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 63k

Auteurs

Honorary Director of Antiquities. Greek Ministry of Culture.

Archaeologist.

Archaeologist.

Greek Ministry of Culture, Ephorate of Antiquities of Eastern Attica.

Greek Ministry of Culture, Ephorate of Antiquities of Eastern Attica.

Athina Pediaditaki-Nalbant (Traducteur)
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