Course Content (Syllabus)
This course consists of a general, yet comprehensive presentation of prehistoric transformations in the region of southeastern Europe (Greece and the Balkans) until the end of the Neolithic (4th millennium B.C.). The aim of the course is the understanding of the cultural processes that led to a transformation from hunter-gatherer societies to the food-producing permanent societies. Material culture in the region during the Paleolithic, Mesolithic and Neolithic are examined. A selective reference is made to broad geographical areas, cultural groups and important archaeological sites and excavations. A considerable part of the course is dedicated to the presentation of the Greek landscape and of the research questions that have been raised.
Week #1 The Palaeolithic in Greece: Lower and Middle Palaeolithic (300.000-30.000 B.P.). The archaeological record from excavations and surveys corresponding to these periods is presented and related to general questions concerning the emergence of the genus Homo in SE Europe. Strategies of survival in the specific environmental and geographic conditions of the region and time period are discussed.
Week #2 Η Παλαιολιθική στην Ελλάδα: The Upper Palaeolithic (30.000-10.000 π.Χ.). The archaeological record from excavations and surveys corresponding to this period is presented and related to general questions concerning the emergence of Homo sapiens in SE Europe. Strategies of survival in the specific environmental and geographic conditions of the region and time period are discussed. Particularities of the Upper Palaeolithic in SE Europe are discussed in relation to other regions of Europe.
Week #3 The Greek and Balkan Mesolithic. The archaeological record of human societies inhabitng Greece and the Balkans with the onset of the Holocene are discussed in the lecture. Franchthi cave, Theopetra cave, Plakias in Crete, Lepenski Vir in the Danube Iron Gates are discussed in detail together with other sites known from recent excavation and surveys. Special emphasis is placed on cultural and environmental elements that shaped the Mesolithic in the region and the background for the emergence of agriculture and the first neolithic villages from the 7th millennium B.C. onwards.
Week #4 Η αρχή της παραγωγής της τροφής στη Μέση Ανατολή, την Ελλάδα και τη Βαλκανική. The archaeological evidence from sites in the Near East and South-Eastern Europe are examined in relation to the issue of the emergence of food production in this part of thw world. Special emphasis is placed on the archaeobotanical and palaeoenvironmental data of the period. The contribution of the environment and the available plant and animal resources to the transformation of hunter-gatherer communities to food producing ones is examined together with social transformations that contributed to the transition to food production.
Week #5 The Early Neolithic in Greece. The cultural elements of what constitutes the Early Neolithic in Greece are presented in discussed, with an emphasis on pottery and spatial organisation. Sites in Thessaly, Macedonia and the Peloponnese are discussed in detail.
Week#6 Η Μέση Νεολιθική στην Ελλάδα: The Middle Neolithic in Greece is discussed on the basis of archaeological remains from excavated sites, especially in Thessaly. Special emphasis is placed on pottery and spatial organisation, settlement location and settlement type.
Week #7 The Late Neolithic in Greece: habitation and architecture. Settlement types, site location, intra- and inter-site architectural variability encountered in the archaeological record of the period are presented and discussed.
Week #8 The Late Neolithic in Greece: ceramic production. The techniques of production and the variability in pottery production during the Late Neolithic are discussed in this lecture. Differences between sites, the circulation of pottery between settlements, the position of potters within the neolithic communities and the social role of potter production, use and consumption are discussed.
Week #9 Neolithic economy: agriculture and animal husbandry. Based on archaeobotanical, archaeozoological and palaeoenvironmental evidence neolithic agriculture, animal husbandry and land use are reconstructed for Greece. Similarities, general patterns and differentiations in time and space, as well as within specific time periods are discussed.
Week #10 Neolithic economy. Archaeological remains that can be used to track networks of communication and exchange in the Neolithic of SE Europe and Greece and the Aegean in particular are being discussed. Pottery and petrographic analysis, Spondylus shell objects and obsidian tools constitute the main categories of materials and methods examined in this lecture.
Week #11 Visit of the prehistoric collection of the Archaeological Museum of Thessaloniki (or the Archaeological Museum of Volos), familiarising with archaeological finds and presentation of optional essays.
Week #12 The use of metals in the Neolithic of South-Eastern Europe. Basic elements on the emergence of metal objects in Late Neolithic/Chalkolithic communities of Greece and the Balkans are presented in this course.
Week #13 The Final Neolithic in Greece. The scarce archaeological record dated to the last millennium of the Neolithic (4300-3500) is presented with special emphasis on settlement patter and potential land use changes.
Additional bibliography for study
Andreou S., Fotiadis M. and Kotsakis K., “Review of Aegean Prehistory V: The Neolithic and Bronze Age of Northern Greece”, American Journal of Archaeology 100 (1996), 537-597.
Bailey D., Balkan Prehistory. Exclusion, Incorporation and Identity, Routledge, London 2000.
Demoule J.P. και Perlès C., “The Greek Neolithic: A New Review”, Journal of World Prehistory 7, no. 4 (1993), 355-416.
Galanidou N. and Perles C. (εκδ.), The Greek Mesolithic: Problems and Perspectives, British School at Athens Studies 10, London 2003.
Perlès C., The Early Neolithic of Greece. The First Farming communities in Europe, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge 2001 (σελ. 20-63).
Παπαθανασόπουλος Γ., Νεολιθικός Πολιτισμός στην Ελλάδα, Ίδρυμα Ν.Π.Γουλανδρή - Μουσείο Κυκλαδικής Τέχνης, Αθήνα 1996.