Tuesday 20 March 2012

An Important Settlement of the 3rd millenium B.C. on Thasos

Part of the prehistoric settlement.

A flourishing settlement of the Bronze Age, that had a strong metallurgical and thread-making activity and contacts with the southern Greece was brought to light by the excavations that were carried out on the hill of Agios Antonios in Potos of Thasos. Nine buildings of the settlement were revealed, all having stone foundations while the upper part was made of mud bricks; clay-constructions were found in their interior and in their yards. They are all single-roomed of a rectangular plan; one has an arched ending while the close relationship of the buildings and the use of shared walls testify to the strong intercommunal ties of the inhabitants. The dig was carried out during two years (2009-2010), but the finds are now being presented for the first time.

According to the archaeologists the basic motive of the people of the time to settle in this specific area was the closeness of the sea and the consequent possibilities to carry out sea commerce. The first settlement appears to date to the 4th millennium B.C., a period rarely observed in Northern Greece, while some finds are from the Final Neolithic, dated with the C-14 method between 3900 and 3600 B.C.

For the construction of at least two buildings of the Early Bronze Age it was observed that the technique of the "Fish-bone" had been used, a method preferred in the Aegean during the 3rd B.C. millennium; in another building a stone with shallow holes was found, of the king that in the Minoan world is called a "kernos" or a "offerings table".

The ceramic of the 3rd and the 2nd millennium B.C. that came to light bears engraved and stamped decoration, while the existence of Mycenaean ceramic as well testifies to the strong commercial ties of the settlement with Southern Greece. It is also the first time that Minyan ceramic (the most characteristic category of mesohelladic ceramic) was found, dating to the Middle Bronze Era. The most impressive find of this period is a tripod with symbolic engraved decoration. A prehistoric free burial was also discovered, with the deceased placed in an embryonic position in a groove dug in the rock, accompanied by a vessel.

It should be noted that with the dig at Agios Antonios a new site of the Bronze Age is added to those already known on Thasos: Agios Ioannis, Skala Sotiros and Kastri Theologou.

In the northern part of the settlement a number of burials was found, that belong to a cemetery of the 2nd, 3rd and 4th century A.D. The graves are mostly box-shaped and had offerings comprised of vessels and jewellery, while one of the graves had a jug containing a hoard of 22 silver and bronze coins. Two impressive as to their size and technique built family tombs dug out of the rock and partially built were discovered, containing the skeletal remains of adults in an exceptional state of preservation.

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