Journal of Mediterranean Archaeology, Vol 18, No 2 (2005)

A Mesolithic Landscape in Greece: Testing a Site-Location Model in the Argolid at Kandia

Curtis Runnels, Eleni Panagopoulou, Priscilla Murray, Georgia Tsartsidou, Susan Allen, Kevin Mullen, Evangelos Tourloukis
Issued Date: 15 Mar 2007


A survey was conducted in southern Greece in 2003 to test a predictive Mesolithic site-location model. We selected the coastal region of Kandia in the Argolid because the present shoreline is near the position of the early Holocene shoreline (c. 9,000 to 10,500 Cal BP). Marine transgression brought the shoreline near its present position by 9,000 Cal BP, flooding low-lying areas and creating a dynamic system of wetlands fed by springs and rivers. Our model predicted that Mesolithic sites were preferentially associated with freshwater wetlands in coastal zones, especially those areas that have small caves and rockshelters (shallow caves formed by overhangs of rock) that provided shelter and had optimal access to plants and animals at the intersection of woodland and aquatic habitats. Suitable caves and rockshelters (i.e. those large enough to have sheltered small bands of humans) were searched in an area of approximately 30 sq. km. Twenty-one sites with 1,713 associated lithic artifacts were recorded, 15 of which with microlithic assemblages of Mesolithic type are sites at the intersection between the higher elevations of the hinterland and the coastal wetlands. We interpret these Mesolithic sites as special activity sites or seasonally occupied residential sites that were part of a larger territory around the Argolic Gulf exploited by groups of foragers. This model is useful for the detection of Mesolithic sites in the eastern Mediterranean where similar environmental conditions existed in the early Holocene.

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DOI: 10.1558/jmea.2005.18.2.259


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