Flashback: Greek archaeologists find 6,500-year-old fishing village

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More than 4,000 years after the settlement was eventually abandoned, researchers have unearthed the remains of houses built of wood and unbaked clay, together with pottery vases, ovens and stone tools, the Culture Ministry announced Thursday.

15 graves of bodies of the Hellenistic Period where found on the upper ground that covered the Neolithic era settlement for thousands of years Photo: EPA The Neolithic-era finds were discovered during work to lay a gas pipe near the village of Vassili in Thessaly, 170 miles north of Athens.

Thessaly’s fertile plains attracted some of Greece’s first farmers, and the ruins of more than 300 settlements – including what at the time would have been major towns – have been discovered in the area.

“Thessaly had a very dense pattern of settlement during Neolithic times,” said Giorgos Toufexis, the archaeologist who headed the excavation at Vassili.

He said the settlement was destroyed by fire, which baked and hardened the clay parts of the houses and preserved imprints of their wooden sections.

The buildings had walls made of branches covered with clay, supported by strong wooden posts and clay-covered roofs.

Among the ruins, archaeologists found large quantities of pottery, including painted vases, stone axes and scrapers, bone tools and a small number of terracotta figurines.

“The economy was based on agriculture and animal farming,” Mr Toufexis said. “We can’t provide an estimate yet on the settlement’s size, but it doesn’t seem to be very big. These settlements usually have a diameter of around 150 yards.”

Mr Toufexis said his team has only excavated a very small section of the site, through which the gas pipe will pass. It is unclear whether the dig will expand further, as neighbouring plots are privately owned.

The low mound that covered the settlement for thousands of years was used as a small cemetery, where 15 graves dating from the fourth to the first centuries BC were excavated.

Last month, archaeologists in northern Greece unearthed a 6,000 year-old set of crockery and two wood-fired ovens in the buried ruins of a Neolithic farmhouse.


Source: The Telegraph [November 21, 2008]


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