The University of Arizona

Radiocarbon Dating of the Neolithic Lakeside Settlement of Dispilio, Kastoria, Northern Greece

Yorgos Facorellis, Marina Sofronidou, Giorgos Hourmouziadis

Abstract


Dispilio is the only excavated Neolithic lakeside settlement in Greece. Archaeological research provided evidence that the site was continuously used from the Early Neolithic (~6000 BC) to the Late Chalcolithic period (~1200 BC, Mycenaean period). During several archaeological campaigns, a portion of the settlement has been excavated that enabled a sufficient understanding of the architectural layout of homes, the building materials, and the organization of space, while the finds (fragments of pottery, stone and bone tools, anthropomorphic and zoomorphic clay figurines, miniature representations of objects also on clay, animal and fish bones, charred cereal grains, and other fruits) provided information on the everyday lives of the Neolithic inhabitants. A series of charcoal and wood samples, originating mostly from the Middle and Late Neolithic layers of the site, were radiocarbon dated and their dates range from ~5470 to 4850 BC. The most unexpected of the finds, a wooden tablet from the lake bearing engraved symbols, was 14C dated to 5260 ± 40 BC. In addition, clay tablets and pottery vessels engraved with similar symbols were also unearthed from layers dated to the same period. If this proves to be a primary source of written communication, the history of writing should be reconsidered and Neolithic societies should not be considered “societies without writing.”

DOI: 10.2458/56.17456


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