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The Human Face of Radiocarbon

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Zoï Tsirtsoni

Southern Greece

Chapter 24. Concluding remarks

Zoï Tsirtsoni

Texte intégral

  • 2 Supra, chapter 1, p. 36, 37.
  • 3 Full list according to the alphabetical order of sites, supra, chapter 2, table 1, p. 50‑65.

1The aim of the “Balkans 4000” project, as announced in the opening chapter, was to clarify the chronological and historical relationships between the different phenomena observed in Bulgaria and Greece between the end of the 6th and the end of the 4th/early 3rd millennium BC, focusing on the problem of the transition from the Late Neolithic/Chalcolithic to the Early Bronze Age2. We aimed in particular to test, through a series of new radiocarbon dates3, whether or not there exists a break in the occupation as presumed by many scholars (mainly in Bulgaria, and to a lesser degree in Greece), and whether this break is patterned in any way that would possibly suggest its cause, or causes.

2The results have largely fulfilled these objectives, showing beyond any ambiguity that there is indeed a substantial break in the occupation of prehistoric sites in both countries, whose onset seems however to be more or less random, i.e. does not display any obvious patterning according to the sites’ setting, nature or previous history. The thing will be discussed in some detail further on. But we did more than that: the new dates indeed complete in several parts the existent chronological sequences, both local and regional, and refine the chronological definition of some stages that were previously poorly known.

Improvements to the late 6th – early 3rd millennium BC chronology

  • 4 Supra, chapter 1, p. 19, table 1, and p. 31‑35.
  • 5 The names used to introduce the different stages should be considered as nothing but temporary labe (...)

3Starting from the general chronological framework4, the following refinements can be presented as a result of the project (table 1):5

The Late Neolithic I

  • 6 Supra, chapter 1, p. 17‑21.
  • 7 From Akladi Tseïri, dates Lyon-7490 and Lyon-7485; from Makrychori, Lyon-7638, Lyon-7639 and DEM-21 (...)

4The few new 14C dates from layers assigned to the stage that is conveniently described as Late Neolithic I (or LN Ia, or simply Late Neolithic) fall, without surprise, in the years between ca 6400‑6200 BP, i.e. between 5470 and 5000 cal BC at 2 sigma, thus confirming the more or less homogeneous character of the developments over a big part of the Balkan peninsula6. Their geographic situation is important, as they come from regions that were not represented so far in the radiocarbon record, namely Thessaly (Makrychori) and the Bulgarian Black Sea coast (Akladi Tseïri)7. Unfortunately, none of the sampled sites in Northern Bulgaria had layers assigned to this period. A distinction might seem further possible between an earlier stage, around 5400‑5200 cal BC, connected to the Middle Neolithic-Late Neolithic I transition, and a later, properly Late Neolithic stage, for the years after 5200; but the limit between the two is not clear cut.

Table 1 – Comparative chronology of the Neolithic/Chalcolithic and the beginning of the Early Bronze Age period in Greece and Bulgaria, integrating the results of the “Balkans 4000” project (in bold). Arrows indicate significant movements in the date or duration of some events compared to what was previously acknowledged (cf. chapter 1, table 1). The dotted rectangle marks the area where no new dates were produced.

The Late Neolithic II/Early Chalcolithic

5The dates assigned to the next stage (Greek Late Neolithic II-“Dimini”, or LN Ib; Bulgarian Early-Middle Chalcolithic) fall, again without much surprise, in the interval between 6000 and 5700 BP, i.e. between 4990/4800 and 4700/4500 cal BC. Several points deserve however to be underlined.

  • 8 It is indeed what the excavator believes (P. Leshtakov, personal communication).
  • 9 In Agia Triada, there are in fact three or four more layers until the bedrock: see supra, chapter 2 (...)
  • 10 Supra, chapter 1, p. 33. Two attempts at Borovan with samples coming from deposits where Early Chal (...)

6The first concerns the start of the period, which indeed might be somewhat earlier than what is sometimes suggested. The evidence from Akladi Tseïri is at this point particularly important. Even if we exclude the date Lyon-7488 as too high8, the other two dates (Lyon-7487 and Lyon-7486), taken from the fill of a well with clear Early Chalcolithic features, place the start of it in the years around 6000 BP, i.e. very close to 5000 and in any case prior to 4800 cal BC. The earliest available dates for the equivalent phases in Mandra, Thessaly (Lyon-7648) and Agia Triada, in Southern Euboea (DEM-2097 and DEM-2183), have altogether slightly younger values (ca 5900 BP), but in both cases we are not sure that the dated layers indeed represent the start of the period9. Unfortunately, in spite of our efforts, we didn’t manage to provide any dates for this period from Northwestern Bulgaria, whose Early Chalcolithic, although culturally known, thus remains undated10.

  • 11 The latter is what is suggested by the excavators (supra, chapter 13, p. 247, 248).
  • 12 Infra, p. 462, 463.

7On the contrary, we brought for the first time evidence regarding early 5th millennium BC inhabitation in the Rhodopes, an area which had been considered uninhabited in this period. The nature of the excavated features at the site of Varhari does not allow a conclusion as to whether the 14C dates provided apply to events that fall properly in the Early-Middle Chalcolithic or in the transition to the Late Chalcolithic11, but the fact remains that the area can no longer be regarded as an “empty space” until the end of the 5th millennium. The historical consequences of this result have been pinpointed in the related chapter, and will also be further discussed below12.

  • 13 DEM-2059, DEM-2058, DEM-2068. For the contexts, see also chapter 20, p. 387‑393.
  • 14 The respective contexts are briefly presented in Toufexis 2000 and 2001‑2004a; Toufexis et al. 2000 (...)
  • 15 Compare supra, chapter 1, p. 16‑17.
  • 16 Supra, chapter 15, p. 288.
  • 17 Dates Lyon-7917 and DEM-2142. See also chapter 18, p. 347, 348.
  • 18 A different opinion is expressed by the excavators, supra, chapter 12, p. 228.
  • 19 Supra, chapter 3, p. 80.
  • 20 For the debate about the chronological position of the Varna I “culture”, in connection with the re (...)

8The third point to underline concerns the distinction between this and the next stage. Several indices indeed suggest that the broadly admitted distinction between an earlier and a later part of the Late Neolithic II/Chalcolithic (respectively corresponding to the “cultures” Karanovo V‑VI, Dimini-Rachmani, etc.) needs to be reconsidered, both in terms of content (i.e. material culture) and duration (i.e. absolute chronology). This might help deal better with some apparent “anomalies” of the archaeological and/or the radiocarbon record. Thus, in some cases, a shift seems to takes place as early as 5800 BP, i.e. towards 4600 or even 4700 cal BC, as suggested for instance by the three “early Rachmani” dates from the tell of Prodromos in Thessaly13. On the other hand, the neighbouring site of Mandra provides a similar date from a layer associated with “classic Dimini” material (Lyon-7649), and the same goes for the site of Rachmani itself, where two samples from contexts with “Dimini” pottery have also been dated to the years around 4750‑4500 BC (Lyon-7646 and Lyon-7645)14. This could mean that either one of these lots of evidence is erroneously associated with its “cultural stage”, or, more likely, that the two “cultural stages” are actually partly overlapping in time and space, and that their strictly chronological value should be taken with some reservation when applied to different sites15. Similar considerations have been expressed concerning Dikili Tash, whose sequence has undergone considerable revisions in recent years as a result of the ongoing excavations and the new series of 14C dates16. They are sustained by evidence from Kastri (Thasos), where layers broadly assigned to the KGK VI “culture”, are again dated to the years before 4500 cal BC17. Maybe the presumably too high dates from Orlitsa (ca 5700 BP, i.e. between 4700‑4500 cal BC) could be explained by a similar reconsideration of the start of the “Karanovo VI” phenomena, possibly accentuated here by an old-wood effect18. The even higher date from grave 3 at Smyadovo (Lyon-5511, 5929 ± 35 BP) pushes things further: as S. Chohadzhiev points out in the relevant chapter, life in the settlement (and therefore in the associated cemetery) should probably start at the beginning of the Late Chalcolithic, without excluding however the existence of an earlier occupation that would not be represented in the excavation trench19. A date close to the lower end of the calibrated interval (i.e. towards 4720 cal BC) would fit this scenario very well, suggesting that the site was settled a little before or right at the onset of the Late Chalcolithic properly speaking; this would agree in turn with the idea that the Varna I “culture” (with which are parallelized some of the offerings from the grave) falls at the start and not at the end of the period20.

  • 21 Date Lyon-7636. Another date (Lyon-7201), with a comparable value, comes from a similar context in (...)

9Further to the south the evidence from Agia Triada is not conclusive upon this point: the occupation layer 13 in trench 4, dated around 5650 BP (4579‑4360 cal BC)21, indeed provides nothing but a terminus ante quem for the local “Saliagos-Kephala” transition, which thus could be placed (also considering the dates from the lower levels in the same trench, supra) somewhere between 4700 and 4500 cal BC.

The Final Neolitlhic/Late Chalcolithic

  • 22 Dates DEM-2155, DEM-2154, DEM-2159. About the site see Toufexis 2009; Toufexis et al. 2009.
  • 23 For further discussion about the date of abandonment of these sites, see supra, chapters 12 and 13 (...)
  • 24 In none of these settlements have the excavations reached the virgin soil (see chapter 4, p. 87, an (...)

10Whatever the date of the shift, most of the sites occupied during the previous period seem to continue uninterruptedly into the present. Among the exceptions we find some relatively “young” sites, like Vassilis in Thessaly22 and possibly Orlitsa and Varhari in the Rhodopes, which might have been abandoned before 4500 cal BC23. Conversely, some spots that were apparently not inhabited in the preceding centuries (e.g. Kosharna, Karnobat) are now settled, or re-settled24.

  • 25 Supra, chapter 1, p. 33‑35.

11The sites belonging to this period do not all evolve similarly. The new results indeed confirm the existence of several chronological “thresholds” spreading over the long interval from the mid‑5th to the mid‑4th millennium BC. Some of them mark simple destruction events without major consequences for the life of the settlement, whereas others mark a change of use, or the end of occupation for a shorter or a longer period. Many of these “thresholds” were already discernable in the data available25, but are now refined and consolidated, and eventually expanded to new areas.

  • 26 The site of Hotnitsa, located in North-Central Bulgaria, might come to an end even earlier, as sugg (...)
  • 27 Dates Lyon-5512, Lyon-5513, Lyon-5514, Lyon-5622, Lyon-5623; no grave fell in the following centuri (...)
  • 28 Date Lyon-7657. The date Lyon-7659 could indicate however a prolongation of the settlement; see als (...)
  • 29 Lyon-6000; see also chapter 8, p. 153.
  • 30 See list of dates in chapter 2, p. 55, 56, and chapter 7, p. 128.
  • 31 Dates Ly-14792 to Ly-14794 and Lyon-5996 to Lyon-5999 of the “Balkans 4000” project. For comments a (...)
  • 32 Date Lyon-6028 of the “Balkans 4000” project; for further dates see chapter 16, p. 304, table 1.
  • 33 Lyon-7644. The sample was taken from the fill of one of the Final Neolithic wells excavated in the (...)
  • 34 Supra, chapter 15, p. 296, 297.

12The first “threshold” seems to fall in the years around 5550‑5500/5450 BP, i.e. ca 4350‑4300/4250 cal BC. It corresponds to the date of abandonment – or, to be more precise, to the last attested use of graves or the last destruction event in settlements – in a number of Neolithic/Chalcolithic sites located in various areas: North-East Bulgaria26 (Smyadovo27, maybe Kosharna28), Thrace (Karnobat29, Karanovo30, Yunatsite31), but also Eastern Macedonia (Kryoneri)32 and Thessaly (Rachmani)33. Some of these settlements could actually have lived a little longer, if we accept that a small number of later occupation events might have been wiped off by erosion after the site’s final abandonment, as suggested by the evidence from Dikili Tash34. But they would not be expected to exceed one or two centuries, and probably would not extend beyond the end of the 5th millennium BC. In terms of material culture, the dated levels are more-or-less typical “Late Chalcolithic KGK VI” or “Rachmani” accordingly. The confirmation of the end of the particular settlement at Rachmani well before 4000 BC should hopefully put an end to the misuse of the term “Rachmani culture” as a synonym of the 4th millennium phenomena in Thessaly, and Greece in general.

  • 35 This multi-layered settlement was first investigated in the framework of a salvage expedition, whic (...)
  • 36 Supra, chapter 2, p. 49.

13In addition to the above-mentioned sites, this chronological stage is also attested at Sadovets-Ezero, in Northwestern Bulgaria, where it does not represent however the last event35. This is important, because it establishes the chronological framework of the early stages of the KSB “culture”, proving furthermore the continuity with what follows (the KSB IV “cultural stage”, see below). Regrettably the poor coincidence between the expected stratigraphic position and the actual order of 14C dates does not allow complete exploitation of this important result36.

  • 37 Supra, chapter 18, p. 348.

14This stage is not represented among the dated samples from Kastri and it is not impossible that it is indeed lacking from the settlement37. If a hiatus was confirmed in the stratigraphic sequence, it might point to a temporary displacement of the occupation (not at all unusual at Thasos, from what is seen from the regional analysis).

The Final Chalcolithic

  • 38 Lyon-6465 and Ly-15107.
  • 39 Lyon-7489.
  • 40 For the interpretation of the dates from Dolno Dryanovo and their relation with the neighbouring Ta (...)
  • 41 Date DEM-2057 from the “Balkans 4000” project, and DEM-553 from previous works: see chapter 15, p.  (...)
  • 42 Lyon-7914 and Lyon-7915, both from a destruction layer in square 3, see also chapter 18, p. 348, ta (...)
  • 43 Dates DEM-2010 and DEM-2041 from the south sector, DEM-2053 from the west sector, DEM-2108 and DEM- (...)
  • 44 DEM-2067, from a level assigned to “advanced Rachmani”; see also chapter 20, p. 388‑391.
  • 45 Date Lyon-7641; for the context see also chapter 19, p. 370, 371.
  • 46 DEM-2096, from a pure “Attica-Kephala” context; see also chapter 22, p. 432, 433.
  • 47 Dates Lyon-7618, DEM-2125 and DEM-2144: see chapter 15, p. 290 and table 3.
  • 48 Lyon-7647, from the fill of the ditch; see also supra, n. 9.
  • 49 Lyon-7659; for a comment about the context, see chapter 4, p. 88.
  • 50 Lyon-6002 and Lyon-6005bis; the date Lyon-6005 is slightly earlier, but the nature of both the cont (...)
  • 51 Lyon-7654 (chapter 2, p. 55). For the context see Elenski & Leshtakov 2005, p. 38.

15A second “threshold” could be placed around 5400/5350‑5250 BP, i.e. between approximately 4200 and 4000/3900 cal BC. The spectre of dated contexts is more varied than in the previous group: we again have primary destruction contexts (Sadovets-Ezero38, Akladi Tseïri39, Tatul and Dolno Dryanovo40, possibly Dikili Tash-sector 641, Kastri42, Dispilio43, Prodromos44, Palioskala45, Agia Triada46), but also some secondary deposits (Dikili Tash-sector 247, Mandra48), two undefined (Kosharna-pit 149, Sidirokastro-looter’s trench50), and even one grave (Dzhulyunitsa)51. Also, the distribution of the sites is very broad and covers the biggest part of the territory, including possibly NE Bulgaria (if we take the evidence from Kosharna to be reliable), but not Thrace, where unfortunately none of the dated samples went beyond 4300/4250 cal BC.

  • 52 Supra, chapter 1, p. 28‑31.
  • 53 Supra, chapter 1, p. 30.
  • 54 Again this could suggest that the two horizons do not evolve completely identically in the various (...)
  • 55 See in particular the discussions in chapters 10 (Dolno Dryanovo), 11 (Tatul), 15 (Dikili Tash), 18 (...)

16The new results confirm that the stage which is called “Final Chalcolithic” in the Bulgarian terminology is not represented only in the two areas where this was already established, i.e. Northwestern Bulgaria and the Rhodopes. Its presence is now confirmed with radiocarbon dates from secure archaeological contexts in the two other regions where this was suspected (Southern Black Sea coast, Thasos52), as well as in other areas in Northern Greece where this was contested, namely lowland Eastern Macedonia53, or completely unknown (Western Macedonia). The importance of this enlargement will be discussed below. A consensus is discernable around the possible definition of this stage in terms of material culture, thanks to the fine parallelisms between the sites from the various areas: they bring together elements from the late- and post-“Karanovo VI” eastern horizons54, together with western “Krivodol-Sălcuţa-Bubanj Hum IV” features, and local particularities which become now more meaningful55. These parallelisms show two things:

  • first, that the phenomena that are taking place in this period are a direct continuation of what preceded and that, whatever the changes in pottery style or other artefact categories, they should be seen as evolutions of an existent system of values and technical traditions (persistence of graphite, combination with crusted paints, sophisticated shapes, etc.);

  • second, that the introduction (or emergence?) of some new stylistic traits that will be more visible in the next stage(s) is already operating in those years. The case of Dolno Dryanovo is from this point of view exemplary: the site indeed bridges, by its pottery assemblage as well as by its 14C dates, the latest manifestations of the previous system and the onset of the next.

  • 56 Supra, chapter 19, p. 367‑373.

17This stage is now clearly established for Thessaly, where concrete radiocarbon evidence had been lacking completely. The archaeologists should look for a more appropriate name than “Rachmani” in order to describe these ending-5th millennium phenomena, which continue in some sites uninterruptedly into the following 4th millennium (see below). In terms of material culture, we again witness this interesting merging of past and new trends, which will be further affirmed in the next stage, as seen from the Palioskala sequence56. This will also be the case further south, with the sequence from Agia Triada.

The Transitional period

  • 57 We remind that this was the state of research until 2011. At Dikili Tash the abandonment is marked (...)
  • 58 Dates Lyon-6027 and Lyon-7484, both from a grave dug in the settlement’s last destruction layer. Fo (...)

18From what precedes, it is clear that the “Transitional period” has already started during the preceding centuries. From this point of view, the use of a different label might be confusing or misleading, and a prolongation of the term “Final Chalcolithic” (or simply Chalcolithic or Final Neolithic, concerning Greece), would be more convenient. The term of transition describes well, however, the process that is going on in both countries during the early 4th millennium BC. Moreover, it takes into account some changes seen in different parts of the territory, namely the abandonment or the change of use of a number of long-lived sites. Among them, we encounter Dikili Tash and Prodromos, which show no sign of human presence57, as well as Akladi Tseïri, which is now used for inhumations58.

  • 59 From a radiocarbon point of view this “threshold” is quite problematic, because of the existence of (...)
  • 60 Dates Lyon-6461 to Lyon-6463, and Lyon-7651 from Bezhanovo; Lyon-7482 and Lyon-7483 from Borovan. F (...)
  • 61 Supra, chapter 1, p. 34, 35.
  • 62 Lyon-7655, Lyon-7656, Lyon-7660 (chapter 2, p. 52). A short comment about the relationship of the e (...)

19Yet, the number of sites represented until the next “threshold”, towards 5000/4950 BP (= ca 3900/ 3700 cal BC), is relatively important at present59. Their geographical distribution allows the filling in of some of the previous lacunae of the radiocarbon record and establishes the chronological position of a number of potentially significant cultural traits. Thus, the series of dates from Bezhanovo and Borovan in Northern Bulgaria60 bridge the radiocarbon gap between the last “KSB” manifestations and the first presumably “Proto-Bronze” phenomena (the “Scheibenhenkel-Galatin” horizon)61. The analysis of pottery confirms that the latter do not succeed directly to the former, and that between the two a transformation process is taking place, which is reminiscent of what is going on further south in the Rhodopes (see below). Moreover, the evidence from Bezhanovo and that from neighbouring Devetaki, in Central North Bulgaria62, bridge the geographical space between the western and the eastern transitional groups (roughly the Galatin and Pevets “cultures”), confirming not only their roughly synchronous character, but also their “genetic” relationship, which seems so far to owe very little to external influences. This arouses questions about the presumed depopulation of the Eastern part between approximately 4300 and 3900/3700 cal BC: maybe life continued in this area too, like it did further to the West, in settlements that have not been preserved, or that have not been discovered yet.

  • 63 See chapter 14, p. 266, 267, with discussion of the old and the new dates.
  • 64 Supra, chapter 10, p. 184‑186.
  • 65 Suggested already by one date from Limenaria, see supra, chapter 1, p. 34, n. 139.
  • 66 Date DEM-2134 from Kastri; Lyon-7911 and Lyon-7650 from Agios Antonios. For the contexts, see chapt (...)
  • 67 The latest dates from the site (Lyon-7642 and DEM-2156) could indeed fall in the 3900/3800 interval (...)

20The prolongation of settlement in the Rhodopes (Yagodina63, and possibly Dolno Dryanovo64) is not a surprise. More interesting is the confirmation of the prolongation of settlement in Thasos65, based on one date from Kastri and two more from the coastal site of Agios Antonios, from layers with cultural features that are still considered to be “Chalcolithic”66. In Thessaly, both the material evidence and the 14C dates from Palioskala suggest that the transformation process toward a new reality is going on67.

  • 68 Dates DEM-2095 and Lyon-7637. About the denial of the radiocarbon evidence from Kephala itself, see (...)

21Finally, the last set of dates from Agia Triada, from layers with typical “Kephala” features, confirms what we lacked so far at the eponymous site, i.e. the persistence of settlement in the Central Aegean until the first quarter of the 4th millennium BC68.

The Proto-Bronze stage

  • 69 Among others Johnson 1999; Coleman 2000; also Boyadzhiev 1998, p. 359.
  • 70 DEM-2051. The date comes from the cleaning of an area around a two-handled MBA-looking vessel; see (...)

22None of the dates produced by the “Balkans 4000” project fall in the interval between roughly 4950 and 4800 BP, i.e. between ca 3900/3700 and 3650/3500 cal BC. The interval, already pinpointed by previous analyses69, could be ridiculously short (50 years) or tremendously long (400 years), thus leaving room for too much speculation. A unique date comes from the site of Dispilio, but unfortunately agrees badly with the expected archaeological context and thus cannot be taken, so far, as reliable evidence70.

  • 71 These dates confirm and refine the previously known unique 14C date from the site (DEM-1350), taken (...)
  • 72 Coleman 2011.
  • 73 See chapter 19, p. 367‑370 (with further parallels).

23On the contrary, we bring now further solid evidence for the existence of a “transitional proto-Bronze” stage in the years around 4800/4700‑4650 BP, i.e. towards 3500‑3400 BC, with the five new dates from the single-layered settlement of Mikrothives in Thessaly71. This settlement indeed stands, both by its chronological position and its material characteristics, as a true “missing link” between the Neolithic/Chalcolithic and the forthcoming EBA. The presence of “Bratislava bowls” and other elements of seemingly northern origin confirms that new ingredients have been introduced into the local material assemblages during the preceding “invisible” years. However, this introduction of new elements did not necessarily imply a rapid and unidirectional population movement as suggested by some72. On the contrary, most of the pottery assemblage found in the site shows close connections with the material from earlier Palioskala and other purely “Final Neolithic” sites of the late 5th and early 4th millennium BC73.

  • 74 Supra, chapter 23, p. 443.
  • 75 It is regrettable that this very sample is among those that had a low collagen content, and whose p (...)
  • 76 Parallels with the earliest graves from Tsepi are reported both from Mikrothives and Merenta: see s (...)

24According to the archaeological evidence, this is also where the earlier phase of occupation at the site of Merenta, in Attica might be placed74. Unfortunately, all the radiocarbon dates produced by “Balkans 4000” have values between 4600 and 4400 BP, i.e. between 3400/3300‑3100/3000 cal BC, and are thus hardly different from those obtained from purely EBA contexts in other sites of Greece and Bulgaria (see below). Two possibilities come to mind: either the archaeological recognition would be false, or the dated samples would all represent later events. The latter seems more probable, considering that all the subterranean chambers where samples have been taken from were also occupied in the following EBA I period. A third option seems possible however: that the stage attested by the transitional “FN/EBA I” deposits at Merenta indeed precedes the onset of the “true” EBA, but not as much as the one attested at Mikrothives; it would be represented here by the date Lyon-7184 (4605 ± 30 BP, 3495‑3348 cal BC), whose both uncalibrated and calibrated result stands in between the Mikrothives series and the bulk of properly EBA dates75. But this is for the moment only a scenario that should be confirmed by further dating, including at other sites with similar transitional features, like the cemetery of Tsepi for instance76.

  • 77 The two available dates from Eutresis in Boeotia (P-306 and P-307, reported by Coleman 1992, and Sa (...)

25A fourth possibility according to which all the samples from Merenta would indeed be “FN/EBA I” and dated at 3300‑3100/3000 cal BC deserves to be discussed: it would imply that the EBA I period started in Attica (and in the rest of Southern Greece?) later than in Northern Greece. The radiocarbon evidence from the area is so far too scarce to allow accepting or rejecting this hypothesis completely77; let’s say that for the moment such a delay is not sustained either by the material or by the 14C evidence, and that further data are necessary from both sides before concluding.

The Early Bronze I

  • 78 Lyon-6012. For the context see chapter 15, p. 278 and 283.
  • 79 DEM-1930 to DEM-1933, Lyon-6003, Lyon-7022. The date Lyon-6004 has a slightly higher value, possibl (...)
  • 80 Lyon-5515 and Lyon-5516 (supra, chapter 3, p. 77).
  • 81 For the southern part, see discussion in the preceding paragraph.

26All properly speaking EBA I levels/features dated in the framework of the project gave results in the years between 4500 and 4350 BP, i.e. between 3300 and 3000/2900 cal BC. These dates agree completely with those previously available for both Greece and Bulgaria. The samples come from primary settlement contexts (Dikili Tash78, Sidirokastro79) as well as from graves (Smyadovo80): their distribution confirms that the phenomenon that is commonly called the Early Bronze Age took its shape more-or-less synchronously at least over the northern part of the investigated area, i.e. between the Danube and the northern coast of the Aegean, without any visible sign of priority or delay in any part81.

  • 82 See Boyadzhiev 1995, p. 153‑155; Boyadzhiev 1998, p. 354, 355; Maniatis & Papadopoulos 2011, p. 153 (...)
  • 83 Modelling performed with the OxCal 4.1.5 on-line version. The results have been published in Maniat (...)

27The longest series of dates is provided by the site of Sidirokastro in Greek Eastern Macedonia: the fine statistical analysis (modelling) of the results allowed us to overcome the problematic effects of the well-known “plateau” of the calibration curve around 4500/4400 BP82 and to propose one of the two “peaks” as more probable for the start of the EBA, at least at this site. It seems indeed that the dates cluster better around the younger “peak”, i.e. around 3100/3000 cal BC, rather than around the older one (3300 cal BC)83. This statement has both a positive and a negative consequence. The “bad news” is that, at a local scale, the chronological gap between the last Chalcolithic and the first EBA event is getting bigger, and that the little we gained at the end of the 5th millennium with the evidence for a possible Final Chalcolithic occupation of the cave (supra) is now lost again. Considered at a regional scale, however, this slight delay in the onset of the “true” EBA leaves more room for the transformation process itself, thus inviting us to expect (or hope for?) the discovery of more intermediary stages in the future.

  • 84 This estimation is based both on stratigraphy and the previous 14C dates: see supra, chapter 9, p.  (...)
  • 85 Cf. the dates of Sitagroi Vb (e.g. BM-653), also falling in the years after 2500 cal BC (Renfrew et (...)

28We will not discuss here further the dates from later Early Bronze Age, namely EBA II contexts. Let us simply note that most of them fall, as expected, in the early centuries of the 3rd millennium BC, and that in all the cases where a stratigraphic continuity with the preceding EBA I is claimed, a smooth progression is also seen in the radiocarbon dates, without excluding however completely the possibility of small breaks. At Sidirokastro for instance more than 100 years BP separate the last date assigned to the EBA I (Lyon-7022, 4355 ± 35 BP) from the earliest one assigned to EBA II (Lyon-8908, 4200 ± 35 BP), but the calibrated intervals are practically touching each other (3084‑2900 and 2893‑2674 cal BC respectively). At Yunatsite, the unique EBA date produced in the framework of the “Balkans 4000” project (Ly-14795) falls in the years in between, thus agreeing well with the excavators’ estimation that the EBA at this site would not have started before 3000 cal BC84. The date Lyon-6029 from Kryoneri probably marks the later part of the period in Eastern Macedonia85.

For a redefinition of the “4th millennium problem”

29The first thing that comes out of the analysis of the new 14C dates and their comparison with those previously known from the same and from other sites, is that there is indeed no site so far, either in Greece or Bulgaria, whose occupation would go on uninterruptedly from the Late Neolithic/Chalcolithic to the EBA period. This holds for sites where a hiatus is seen in stratigraphy (e.g. Karanovo, Yunatsite), as well as for those where it does not, either because the EBA remains lie directly on top of the older deposits (e.g. Dikili Tash, Sidirokastro) or because the sites are not re-occupied in the EBA (e.g. Mandra, Orlitsa, Varhari, Bezhanovo). This means that something definitely affects the lives of the Late Neolithic/Chalcolithic populations, pushing them to move away from the places that they were occupying until then.

  • 86 For the graves of Akladi Tseïri, see supra, n. 58.
  • 87 A small number of graves were dug inside the fill of the ditch that surrounded the Neolithic settle (...)

30The results furthermore confirm that this “something” affects all kinds of settlements, independent of their nature, setting, past history, etc. We indeed see that, at one moment or another, both coastal and mountainous settlements (Kryoneri and Akladi Tseïri, but also Kastri and Sidirokastro), as well as lowland sites (Karanovo, Dikili Tash, Mandra, Prodromos…) are abandoned, whether these are tells, flat sites or caves (respectively Dikili Tash, Kryoneri, Sidirokastro), long-lived or relatively young (Karanovo, Varhari). When a cemetery is associated with the settlement, its functioning stops too (Smyadovo), although in some cases graves are installed in the area of the abandoned settlement, meaning that people are still around (Akladi Tseïri86, Mandra87).

31On the other hand, none of these topographical or cultural features seems to be directly connected to the time of the abandonment itself, no more than the geography as a whole. The new results indeed confirm the existence of some chronological “thresholds”, but show clearly that the sites representing them do not order themselves according to any of the above criteria. In other words, there seems to be no clear patterning, and more specifically no clear geographical progression of the abandonment events. This is important, because the idea of a progression is an essential component of all the scenarios advanced so far to explain the presumed depopulation of the territory at the transition from the Neolithic/Chalcolithic to the EBA.

  • 88 Supra, chapter 1, p. 35, 36.

32It is true that sites in North-Eastern Bulgaria are apparently abandoned early, towards 4350 cal BC (Smyadovo, possibly Kosharna), but at the same date several other settlements further south are also apparently abandoned – not only in Bulgarian Thrace (Karanovo, Yunatsite), but also in Eastern Macedonia (Kryoneri) and Thessaly (Pefkakia, Rachmani). As a consequence, we cannot speak any more about a priority of the Northeastern areas against the others, as a sign of hypothetical steppe-invasion movements. We cannot speak either about a priority of coastal or lowland sites either, as presumed victims of a sudden water-rise, since in many such areas we find, next to the abandoned settlements, others that continue to be occupied for a little, or for much, longer (e.g. Dikili Tash in Eastern Macedonia, Prodromos, Mandra, Palioskala in Thessaly). It is true that some regions, like Thrace, still provide no dates after 4300/4200 cal BC, but, as already said, there are indications that this could be related to taphonomy, or with the orientation of research88. Again, there is no obvious pattern in the profiles either of the sites which are abandoned, or of those that survive. The coexistence of abandoned and ongoing settlements in the same environments, together with the overall spreading of the time of the abandonment over a period of several centuries, invalidates, finally, the hypothesis of a collapse due to an abrupt climatic change. Whatever the cause of these decisions, it was by all evidence neither unique nor unidirectional.

  • 89 Todorova 1995, p. 90; Boyadzhiev 1998, p. 358, 359.
  • 90 Supra, n. 34.

33The other important outcome of the project concerns the start of settlement in some areas reputed to act like refuges for the inhabitants of the abandoned Chalcolithic sites. This is especially the case of the Rhodopes, on the Greek-Bulgarian border. The dominant scenario so far was that the area was first settled at the end of the 5th millennium BC, as the result of a transfer of populations from the abandoned lowlands tells. Both these statements (i.e. the late start and the prolongation after the end of tell settlements, until 3800 or even 3600 cal BC) are used as arguments supporting the idea of the “catastrophe” scenario in the Balkans, either by natural causes or invasions89. Actually, the new 14C dates show that settlement starts in the area well before the end of the tells in the neighbouring Thracian plain, and therefore is not the work of refugees. Consequently, the two settlement patterns coexist from the early stages of the Chalcolithic period. One should note that the two sites that represent this early group (Varhari and Orlitsa) are totally flat and lay in small river valleys in the mountains: probably they would have never been discovered if not for road construction. This tells us a lot about the reliability of our corpus and raises once more the discussion of archaeological visibility. As for the second point, i.e. the prolongation of the Rhodopean sites beyond the end of the life on tells, it appears to be only half-true: some, such as the caves of Yagodina and Haramiiska, or the open-air site of Dolno Dryanovo, indeed survive until after 4000 BC, but others, like Tatul, don’t. On the other hand, some tell-sites in neighbouring plains, like Dikili Tash for instance, could also have lived as long90. Under other circumstances, Dikili Tash would have been easily placed in the group of settlements ending before 4200 cal BC, but it has now been proven that it lived until ca 4000 cal BC. During the last century (or centuries) of its existence, it shares features with some of the newly founded settlements in the neighbouring Rhodopes (Dolno Dryanovo, Tatul, Haramiiska), as well as with some pre-existent sites like Sitagroi, at ca 20 km to the north-east, and Kastri, on Thasos. We are far from the stereotypical image of a world of “prosperous farmers” replaced by a world of “poor stock-breeders”.

  • 91 This aspect has been developed in Tsirtsoni 2014.

34This brings us back to what seems to be the most important point of our analysis: the regional continuities. Taken individually all the Neolithic/Chalcolithic sites seem to be abandoned at some point in their history, and most of them display gaps that reach or exceed a whole millennium. But considered at a regional scale, gaps are getting considerably smaller, as the individual sequences largely complete each other in most areas, indicating that the settlements are simply changing location91.

35The next question is of course, why they did so? Or, to be more precise, why did they do so at such a greater scale than before, or afterwards. A related question is, why don’t we see them more in their new locations. I am personally convinced (and much of what has been exposed in this volume seems to prove it) that the latter is merely a question of conservation and visibility, and that the archaeological record will change significantly in the next decades, now that greater attention is given (by chance or by methodological choice) to the investigation of more marginal spots of the archaeological landscape: small mountainous valleys, lowland terraces, outskirts of bigger tells, etc.

36For the explanation of change, the answer is of course more difficult. But at least we can rule out some of the previously advanced hypotheses. The temporally spaced and apparently random distribution of the affected sites points toward human rather than natural/environmental factors. By saying this, we do not suggest that environmental parameters could not have played a role, on the contrary; we just claim that the decision to abandon or to maintain a settlement in a given area was the result of human choices, and not the spontaneous response to any broad, natural catastrophic event.

  • 92 See Tsirtsoni 2014, p. 293‑295.

37Therefore, what appeared so far as an effect of depopulation might be simply the expression of evolution or changes in settlement pattern. One could even anticipate several possible types of population movements, eventually responding to different stimuli or different kinds of needs: movements at a local scale, i.e. from one spot to another, at only a few hundred meters or a few kilometres away; movements at a regional scale, i.e. a redistribution of the population in a given area or cluster of areas according to the new conditions (environmental, social, economic, etc.); finally, maybe movements at a supra-regional scale, towards new destinations that were previously unexplored or poorly exploited92.

Continuity vs break

  • 93 Coleman 2011.
  • 94 Considering, for instance, the evidence from Drama-Merdzhumekja (supra, chapter 1, p. 27 and 35), D (...)

38While this volume was still in preparation, John Coleman published a synthetic paper, where he presents again, with additional arguments, his hypothesis about a depopulation of the Greek peninsula at the end of the 5th millennium BC, similar to the one claimed for other parts of the Balkans, and a re-population by people who came from much more Northern areas93. I think that we can all agree with the second part of his proposal, i.e. the introduction of new elements of probably northern origin into the local repertoire by at least 3600/3500 cal BC94. But the first part of his analysis seems to stand on false grounds. New evidence – both material and radiocarbon – points now not toward a collapse but toward an overall slow transformation process, with several local break events.

39Indeed, in spite of the extended – and so far difficult to understand – abandonment of the majority of Chalcolithic settlements towards the end of the late 5th millennium, the “Balkan koine” is not dismantled completely. Contemporary 4th millennium sites are found at least in Thessaly and in Northwestern Bulgaria, where they seem to continue sharing a common body of habits and codes. Affinities in the material culture, as those observed, for instance, between North-West Bulgaria and the Rhodopes, most probably represent the expression of a world that still continues to live together, under the shape of a more diluted, perhaps, but still active system of cultural exchanges that allows the preservation of traditions and the spreading of innovations (in pottery, metallurgy, etc.) toward all directions. The original network did not collapse completely, but continued to function underneath during this “invisible” period. The most plausible hypothesis is therefore that more settlements of the intermediary centuries existed all over the area, and if preserved, can be expected to be discovered by future archaeological investigations.

Notes

2 Supra, chapter 1, p. 36, 37.

3 Full list according to the alphabetical order of sites, supra, chapter 2, table 1, p. 50‑65.

4 Supra, chapter 1, p. 19, table 1, and p. 31‑35.

5 The names used to introduce the different stages should be considered as nothing but temporary labels, compromises among the various existent schemes.

6 Supra, chapter 1, p. 17‑21.

7 From Akladi Tseïri, dates Lyon-7490 and Lyon-7485; from Makrychori, Lyon-7638, Lyon-7639 and DEM-2158. It is regrettable that none of these sites has been discussed in detail in this volume. For a general presentation of the contexts from which the samples came, see respectively: Leshtakov & Klashnakov 2009; Cholakov & Chukalev 2010, p. 735, 736; Toufexis 2001‑2004b; Toufexis 2006b.

8 It is indeed what the excavator believes (P. Leshtakov, personal communication).

9 In Agia Triada, there are in fact three or four more layers until the bedrock: see supra, chapter 22, p. 428. In Mandra (Toufexis 2000; Toufexis 2001‑2004a), this is the first occupation layer, but this does not mean that it corresponds to the very first manifestation of the “Dimini culture” as a whole.

10 Supra, chapter 1, p. 33. Two attempts at Borovan with samples coming from deposits where Early Chalcolithic material was present, gave dates in the Transitional period and the advanced EBA respectively (supra, chapter 6, p. 121).

11 The latter is what is suggested by the excavators (supra, chapter 13, p. 247, 248).

12 Infra, p. 462, 463.

13 DEM-2059, DEM-2058, DEM-2068. For the contexts, see also chapter 20, p. 387‑393.

14 The respective contexts are briefly presented in Toufexis 2000 and 2001‑2004a; Toufexis et al. 2000 (see also infra, n. 33).

15 Compare supra, chapter 1, p. 16‑17.

16 Supra, chapter 15, p. 288.

17 Dates Lyon-7917 and DEM-2142. See also chapter 18, p. 347, 348.

18 A different opinion is expressed by the excavators, supra, chapter 12, p. 228.

19 Supra, chapter 3, p. 80.

20 For the debate about the chronological position of the Varna I “culture”, in connection with the recent 14C dates, see Higham et al. 2007, and also the comments of Y. Boyadzhiev in chapter 9, p. 165, 166, and chapter 13, p. 248.

21 Date Lyon-7636. Another date (Lyon-7201), with a comparable value, comes from a similar context in trench 3; see chapter 22, p. 432, 433.

22 Dates DEM-2155, DEM-2154, DEM-2159. About the site see Toufexis 2009; Toufexis et al. 2009.

23 For further discussion about the date of abandonment of these sites, see supra, chapters 12 and 13 respectively.

24 In none of these settlements have the excavations reached the virgin soil (see chapter 4, p. 87, and chapter 8, p. 152).

25 Supra, chapter 1, p. 33‑35.

26 The site of Hotnitsa, located in North-Central Bulgaria, might come to an end even earlier, as suggested by the date Lyon-5517 (5625 ± 40 BP), taken from a bone of a skeleton from the last destruction layer excavated back in the 1960s. This date agrees well with the one known previously from the same level (Bln-125: 5560 ± 100 BP), pushing much further the degree of confidence thanks to its higher precision. Indeed, the calibrated result at 2s, i.e. at 95.4% of probability (4539‑4360 cal BC), is practically the same as that suggested previously at 1s, i.e. at only 68.2% (Görsdorf & Boyadzhiev 1996, p. 148: 4510‑4320 cal BC); at the same degree of confidence the previously known date would be 4684‑4179 cal BC. We take this as a point for a short methodological discursion. There are indeed two ways to consider this result: one is to take it as proof that calibration at 1s suffices for archaeological use and that we shouldn’t bother sacrificing part of our final result’s precision in order to gain 27% of probabilities more. Saying that would mean automatically that we should now accept an even narrower date, 4498‑4373 cal BC, which is the current 1s interval of the date Lyon-5517 (calibration with OxCal on-line version 4.1.6), itself however split in further distinct intervals, each with a substantial rate of probability. The other way is to take it as proof that better (i.e. more precise) 14C dates should be used not only to improve the numerical results suggested, but also the degree of certainty introduced in our discussions – which has been our choice in the “Balkans 4000” project. In any case, none of these choices makes much sense when taken alone: as said already (supra, chapter 2, p. 46‑48), a calibrated interval is in fact the simplified, totalizing expression of a much more complex situation with several options, each affected by a lesser or greater degree of probability. Only the work in series can give meaningful results, especially if modelled according to the archaeological evidence. We reserve this kind of exploitation for the future.

27 Dates Lyon-5512, Lyon-5513, Lyon-5514, Lyon-5622, Lyon-5623; no grave fell in the following centuries, until the re-use of the cemetery in the EBA: see also chapter 3, p. 82, 83.

28 Date Lyon-7657. The date Lyon-7659 could indicate however a prolongation of the settlement; see also chapter 4, p. 88‑90, and comments infra.

29 Lyon-6000; see also chapter 8, p. 153.

30 See list of dates in chapter 2, p. 55, 56, and chapter 7, p. 128.

31 Dates Ly-14792 to Ly-14794 and Lyon-5996 to Lyon-5999 of the “Balkans 4000” project. For comments and further radiocarbon dates, see chapter 9, p. 162‑165 and table 1.

32 Date Lyon-6028 of the “Balkans 4000” project; for further dates see chapter 16, p. 304, table 1.

33 Lyon-7644. The sample was taken from the fill of one of the Final Neolithic wells excavated in the late 1990s; see Toufexis et al. 2000; Toufexis 2008, p. 571‑572.

34 Supra, chapter 15, p. 296, 297.

35 This multi-layered settlement was first investigated in the framework of a salvage expedition, which also produced a few 14C dates (published by Merkyte 2007, p. 21, 22). The samples dated in the framework of “Balkans 4000” (dates Lyon-6466, Lyon-6464, Lyon-6467, Ly-15105 and Ly-15106: chapter 2, p. 60, 61) come from the systematic excavations carried on later: see Gergov 2007b, 2008.

36 Supra, chapter 2, p. 49.

37 Supra, chapter 18, p. 348.

38 Lyon-6465 and Ly-15107.

39 Lyon-7489.

40 For the interpretation of the dates from Dolno Dryanovo and their relation with the neighbouring Tatul, see chapter 10, p. 184‑186, and chapter 11, p. 204, 205.

41 Date DEM-2057 from the “Balkans 4000” project, and DEM-553 from previous works: see chapter 15, p. 280 and table 2.

42 Lyon-7914 and Lyon-7915, both from a destruction layer in square 3, see also chapter 18, p. 348, table 2.

43 Dates DEM-2010 and DEM-2041 from the south sector, DEM-2053 from the west sector, DEM-2108 and DEM-2109 from the dating of a stray find (chapter 2, p. 54, 55). For the excavated contexts in the south sector, see Stavridopoulos 2008.

44 DEM-2067, from a level assigned to “advanced Rachmani”; see also chapter 20, p. 388‑391.

45 Date Lyon-7641; for the context see also chapter 19, p. 370, 371.

46 DEM-2096, from a pure “Attica-Kephala” context; see also chapter 22, p. 432, 433.

47 Dates Lyon-7618, DEM-2125 and DEM-2144: see chapter 15, p. 290 and table 3.

48 Lyon-7647, from the fill of the ditch; see also supra, n. 9.

49 Lyon-7659; for a comment about the context, see chapter 4, p. 88.

50 Lyon-6002 and Lyon-6005bis; the date Lyon-6005 is slightly earlier, but the nature of both the context and the samples (charcoal) do not allow further refining of this evidence; see also chapter 17, p. 336.

51 Lyon-7654 (chapter 2, p. 55). For the context see Elenski & Leshtakov 2005, p. 38.

52 Supra, chapter 1, p. 28‑31.

53 Supra, chapter 1, p. 30.

54 Again this could suggest that the two horizons do not evolve completely identically in the various sites and that their definition might need to be revised in the details.

55 See in particular the discussions in chapters 10 (Dolno Dryanovo), 11 (Tatul), 15 (Dikili Tash), 18 (Thasos) and 19 (Palioskala).

56 Supra, chapter 19, p. 367‑373.

57 We remind that this was the state of research until 2011. At Dikili Tash the abandonment is marked in places by a palaesol developed upon late-5th millennium colluvia: see supra, chapter 15, p. 291 and 297. At Prodromos, on the contrary, the late 3rd millennium features are dug directly inside the destruction layer of the late 5th millennium – a situation which is also found in other parts of the Dikili Tash tell as well. See chapter 15, p. 282‑283, and chapter 20, p. 393.

58 Dates Lyon-6027 and Lyon-7484, both from a grave dug in the settlement’s last destruction layer. For references see supra, n. 7.

59 From a radiocarbon point of view this “threshold” is quite problematic, because of the existence of a “plateau” in the calibration curve generating two almost equally probable distributions: one close to 3950, the other closer to 3800 cal BC (see also Boyadzhiev 1995, p. 153‑155; Boyadzhiev 1998, p. 354, 355). Thus, theoretically, most of the dates of this group could be hardly later than 3950 BC. The grouping that is proposed here takes however into consideration the evidence from relative chronology as analysed by the excavators of the present sites.

60 Dates Lyon-6461 to Lyon-6463, and Lyon-7651 from Bezhanovo; Lyon-7482 and Lyon-7483 from Borovan. For the physico-chemical reliability of some of the samples, see also supra, chapter 2, p. 44, 45. For the contexts, see respectively chapter 5, p. 103‑105 and 113, and chapter 6, p. 118‑121.

61 Supra, chapter 1, p. 34, 35.

62 Lyon-7655, Lyon-7656, Lyon-7660 (chapter 2, p. 52). A short comment about the relationship of the evidence from Devetaki with the rest of the developments in Northern Bulgaria is found in chapter 5, p. 114.

63 See chapter 14, p. 266, 267, with discussion of the old and the new dates.

64 Supra, chapter 10, p. 184‑186.

65 Suggested already by one date from Limenaria, see supra, chapter 1, p. 34, n. 139.

66 Date DEM-2134 from Kastri; Lyon-7911 and Lyon-7650 from Agios Antonios. For the contexts, see chapter 18, p. 348, 349.

67 The latest dates from the site (Lyon-7642 and DEM-2156) could indeed fall in the 3900/3800 interval, or cluster with the others in the years right after 4000 cal BC. The idea of a prolongation in the 4th millennium is however strongly supported by the pottery evidence: see chapter 19, p. 371.

68 Dates DEM-2095 and Lyon-7637. About the denial of the radiocarbon evidence from Kephala itself, see supra, chapter 1, p. 34, n. 141.

69 Among others Johnson 1999; Coleman 2000; also Boyadzhiev 1998, p. 359.

70 DEM-2051. The date comes from the cleaning of an area around a two-handled MBA-looking vessel; see Stavridopoulos 2008, p. 19 and fig. 4. Two radiocarbon dates from charcoal collected during geoarchaeological investigations in nearby spots also fall in the first centuries of the 4th millennium BC (RTT-5031 and RTT-5032: Karkanas et al. 2011, commented also by Facorellis et al. 2014), but their archaeological context is for the moment poorly known.

71 These dates confirm and refine the previously known unique 14C date from the site (DEM-1350), taken from the same concentration of charred acorns as the date Lyon-7199. The date DEM-2002, taken from an animal bone collected in a pit, seems too young. For discussion of the contexts and the site in general, see supra, chapter 21.

72 Coleman 2011.

73 See chapter 19, p. 367‑370 (with further parallels).

74 Supra, chapter 23, p. 443.

75 It is regrettable that this very sample is among those that had a low collagen content, and whose physico-chemical reliability is therefore contested; see however supra, chapter 2, p. 44, 45, where their overall accuracy is defended.

76 Parallels with the earliest graves from Tsepi are reported both from Mikrothives and Merenta: see supra, chapter 21, p. 407, n. 49, and chapter 23, p. 446, n. 56. The settlement of Agios Ioannis on Thasos, which also provided dates around 3400/3300 cal BC, could also fit well within this hypothetical ultimate transitional stage: Maniatis & Papadopoulos 2011; Maniatis et al. 2014; and supra, chapter 18, p. 349, 350.

77 The two available dates from Eutresis in Boeotia (P-306 and P-307, reported by Coleman 1992, and Sampson et al. 1999) fall at 4500/4400 BP or 3350‑2920 cal BC. Two other dates from Markiani (Manning 2008) allow dating the transition from Early Cycladic I to Early Cycladic II to the years around 3000/2900 cal BC, suggesting that the start of ECI should be placed earlier.

78 Lyon-6012. For the context see chapter 15, p. 278 and 283.

79 DEM-1930 to DEM-1933, Lyon-6003, Lyon-7022. The date Lyon-6004 has a slightly higher value, possibly due to an old-wood effect. For further dates and description of the context see chapter 17, p. 325‑335.

80 Lyon-5515 and Lyon-5516 (supra, chapter 3, p. 77).

81 For the southern part, see discussion in the preceding paragraph.

82 See Boyadzhiev 1995, p. 153‑155; Boyadzhiev 1998, p. 354, 355; Maniatis & Papadopoulos 2011, p. 153‑155.

83 Modelling performed with the OxCal 4.1.5 on-line version. The results have been published in Maniatis et al. 2014.

84 This estimation is based both on stratigraphy and the previous 14C dates: see supra, chapter 9, p. 163 and table 2.

85 Cf. the dates of Sitagroi Vb (e.g. BM-653), also falling in the years after 2500 cal BC (Renfrew et al. 1986, p. 173, table 7.2, reported also by Coleman 1992). For Kryoneri, see supra, chapter 16, p. 314.

86 For the graves of Akladi Tseïri, see supra, n. 58.

87 A small number of graves were dug inside the fill of the ditch that surrounded the Neolithic settlement: the graves themselves have not been dated but the fill was dated to the years between 4340‑4050 cal BC (supra, p. 458, n. 48), thus providing a terminus post quem. A similar situation was seen in Liga, supra, chapter 1, p. 34, n. 144.

88 Supra, chapter 1, p. 35, 36.

89 Todorova 1995, p. 90; Boyadzhiev 1998, p. 358, 359.

90 Supra, n. 34.

91 This aspect has been developed in Tsirtsoni 2014.

92 See Tsirtsoni 2014, p. 293‑295.

93 Coleman 2011.

94 Considering, for instance, the evidence from Drama-Merdzhumekja (supra, chapter 1, p. 27 and 35), Doliana (chapter 1, p. 25 and 34) and Mikrothives (this chapter, p. 460, and chapter 21).

Table des illustrations

Légende Table 1 – Comparative chronology of the Neolithic/Chalcolithic and the beginning of the Early Bronze Age period in Greece and Bulgaria, integrating the results of the “Balkans 4000” project (in bold). Arrows indicate significant movements in the date or duration of some events compared to what was previously acknowledged (cf. chapter 1, table 1). The dotted rectangle marks the area where no new dates were produced.
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