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Life in caves

04 December 2014 / 17:12:24  GRReporter
1832 reads

Archaeologists have discovered impressive finds in the cave Kataraktes (Waterfalls) near Sidirokastro, Serres area. They include instruments from the early Bronze Age such as a tool from deer horn with a relatively blunt end decorated with engraved lines, bone awls, one bear tooth, a small furnace and cereals.

Kataraktes cave was discovered and mapped in 2004. It is located in a steep area, near waterfalls, from which it has obtained its name and the excavations reveal that it was inhabited in the late Neolithic period (late 5th millennium), as shown by the remains of the dwelling that date back to the beginning of the Early Bronze Age (late 4th millennium, 2600 BC).

Today Miltiades Miteletsis, an archaeologist from the office of ancient monuments - Pieria, based in Katerini, presented the results of the excavations during a one-day forum organized in Thessaloniki on occasion of the 10th anniversary of the founding of the Office of Paleoanthropology and Speleology of northern Greece.

According to the announcement of Miltiades Miteletsis, Kataraktes cave is an impressive and complex geological formation. The study focuses on three stages of prehistoric habitation, namely two of the Early Bronze Age and one of the late Neolithic Age.

The unique remains of the prehistoric era are pits dug for the stable placement of various containment products. Archaeologists have also discovered pieces of various types of vessels, jars, amphorae, etc., and a smaller number of pieces of ceramic plates, cups, vessels for fragrant oils, etc., the majority of which date back to the 2nd century BC.

"It was a protected place offering safety to its residents. The hospitality of caves was often used by people in prehistoric times, following the general trend in the use of caves in the Balkans", stated the archaeologist.


The rock shelter was large and the people used the cave to arrange their household there. In the southern part of the cave, which is better protected, archaeologists have found remains of a large dwelling. They have discovered another one in the middle of the entrance to the cave. The ceramic finds from the two dwellings primarily consist of various clay vessels that date back to the Early Bronze Age, based on their typological characteristics and decoration.

Remains of earlier habitation have been discovered at a depth of about half a metre from the surface, including the foundations of three dwellings. The floors of the three houses are made of clay mixed with soil. Four tanks and a large quantity of charred cereals, probably wheat, have been discovered in one of the dwellings as well as a large number of piercing tools and a bear tooth, which was probably used as an ornament, in another house.

Part of one house to the northeast, where archaeologists have discovered a clay floor with holes for beams, a clay platform and a small oval furnace, belong to the same period of habitation. The ceramic artefacts include containers of various shapes and storage capacity, the majority of which have no decoration. Lines and ripples are dominant in the decorated containers, the engraved images being a rarity.  The dwelling was destroyed due to fire and the sliding of the rock shelter, as evidenced by the pile of broken marble and stone pieces.

According to the announcement of Miltiades Miteletsis, the discovered pieces of a large open vessel testify to an even earlier era of habitation that dates back to the late Neolithic period.

Tags: CavesPrehistoric dwellingsSidirokastrolate Neolithic periodEarly Bronze Age
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