Neolithic finds in the Prefecture of Xanthi, Thrace, Greece

In this article we present findings of the Neolithic period in the Prefecture of Xanthi.

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“According to the archaeological finds, it seems that the area of the current Prefecture of Xanthi has been inhabited since the Neolithic times. Today in the Prefecture there are 70 archaeological sites that cover a period from Neolithic to post-Byzantine times”

(Sourcehttp://www.xanthi.ilsp.gr/cultureportalweb/article.php?article_id=812&topic_id=10&level=&belongs=&area_id=4&lang=gr)

“From the Neolithic period (4500-3000 BC) Neolithic settlements or objects were found in the plain of Xanthi”

(Sourcehttps://www.gtp.gr/LocPage.asp?ID=11219&lng=1)

Melissa

“It refers to the location “stones”, “mountain” or “tes tepe” to the east and next to the village of Melissa. There is a Neolithic settlement (5th millennium BC)”

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“Surface ceramics and small finds from the site document the presence of a prehistoric settlement to an area of no more than 10 acres. The main reason for choosing this rocky hill should have been protection from floods and marshy areas of the plain. The site seems to have already been inhabited towards the end of the 6th millennium BC, and habitation lasts at least until the advanced phases of the early Bronze Age.”

[Source: K. Kallintzi – S. Papadopoulos, «Melissa of Xanthi: Old and new archeological data», ΑΕΜTH 25, 2011 (Thessaloniki 2015) 543–550]

Lafrouda

Exact location: Prefecture of Xanthi

Residential units: Neolithic settlement

POLITICAL HISTORY – TIMELINE: Neolithic Age

(Sourcehttp://www.xanthi.ilsp.gr/thraki/history/his.asp?perioxhid=H0062)

Mandra – Anavra site

Residential units: Neolithic settlement

POLITICAL HISTORY – TIMELINE: Neolithic Age

Ceramic: Neolithic ceramics, similar to Lafrouda ceramics

(Sourcehttp://www.xanthi.ilsp.gr/thraki/history/his.asp?perioxhid=H0059)

Mandra – Petrolofos site

Exact location: Prefecture of Xanthi, near the village of Mandra.

Residential units: Settlement on a hill

POLITICAL HISTORY – TIMELINE: Neolithic Age, Bronze Age, Early Iron Age

Ceramics: Surface ceramics from the top of the hill: shells with corrugated and empressed decoration

(Sourcehttp://www.xanthi.ilsp.gr/thraki/history/his.asp?perioxhid=H0047)

Avdera – Agios Athanasios

Ceramics found in the settlement from the Neolithic until the Early Iron Age on the hill named Agios Athanasios

(Sourcehttps://www.gtp.gr/LocInfo.asp?InfoId=9&Code=EGRRXAv&PrimeCode=EGRRXAv&Level=5&PrimeLevel=5&lng=1)

Diomedeia (Diomidia)

Precise position: Prefecture of Xanthi, Toumba & settlement 400 m NE of the village of Diomedeia, on the Tepes hill, above a modernly dredged lake.

Residential units: Settlement-Toumba

POLITICAL HISTORY – TIMELINE: Neolithic Age. Late Neolithic era of Thrace (Karanovo III). Early Bronze Age. Historical times

Mineral wealth: Chert, marble

Artwork – Craftsmanship: Stone-art: fragments of stone axes, marble head of a club, chert blades

Prehistoric cults: Bottom of a clay figurine

Ceramics: Neolithic ceramics with engraved decoration. Collection of shells from the fields 500 m from the top of the Toumba. Embossed, decorated shells, characteristic handles with knot-like endings, broad handles, vertical or endings with a horizontal part, and -mainly round- legs of vessels

(Sourcehttps://www.gtp.gr/LocInfo.asp?InfoId=9&Code=EGRRXAv&PrimeCode=EGRRXAv&Level=5&PrimeLevel=5&lng=1)

“The archaeological site of Diomedeia (Diomidia) is in the southern part of the Prefecture of Xanthi, in a level plain between the sea and the Rhodopi Mountains. It covered an area of about 700 stremmata (~175 acres), at the center of which was a five-meter-high Toumba. Diomedeia’s Prehistoric phases are known through surface surveys and the excavation of two pits. It was a large agricultural settlement. Its Neolithic pottery is a dark burnished ware, frequently black-topped, with the most prominent types being storage pithoi, prochoi, four-footed lekanai, and tripod tables. There are some painted classes of Late Neolithic, such as pottery decorated with dark gray and “black-on-red” wares. Life in Diomedeia extended from the mid 6th to the late 5th millennium. The Toumba was re-inhabited during the 3rd millennium, as shown by illicit excavation at its summit, which yielded Early Bronze Age pottery. The following habitation phase may be detected in the late 5th century B.C., when the area belonged to the chora of Abdera. Our knowledge here is based exclusively on surface investigation. A settlement had grown up at Diomedeia that may have been in the nature of a village. The finds (pottery, coins, minor objects) confirming ongoing use of the area during the historical period for a very long time, since its chronological bounds extend as far as the 4th-5th century A.D. There were installations on the outskirts of the archaeological site during the Post-Byzantine period”

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[Source: K. Kallintzi – S. Papadopoulos “The Archaeological Site of Diomedeia, Prefecture of Xanthi” AEMTH 21, 2007 (Thessaloniki 2010) 443–454]

Lefki – Kyperea site

Residential units: Neolithic settlement

POLITICAL HISTORY – TIMELINE: Neolithic Age

Cottage industry – Craftsmanship: Neolithic axes, museum of Komotini

(Sourcehttps://www.gtp.gr/LocInfo.asp?InfoId=9&Code=EGRRXAv&PrimeCode=EGRRXAv&Level=5&PrimeLevel=5&lng=1)

“Signs of time and the people who lived there … 6.000 years BC were brought to light by the archaeological excavation of the Ephorate of Antiquities of Xanthi in Toumba of Diomedeia, according to a report by Marianna Xanthopoulou for the newspaper “Embros” of Xanthi.

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The head of Xanthi’s Ephorate of Antiquities, Konstantina Kallintzi, posted on the site ‘Archaeologists and Archaeology lovers of Avdera and Xanthi’ photographic material from the findings of the excavation that took place two years ago with the following accompanying note: “When a place is inhabited for millennia, encloses the signs of time that passed and of the people who lived there. Take, for example, the archaeological site of Toumba in Diomedeia: Neolithic axes, Bronze Age vessels, archaic cups, classic wine-glasses, Hellenistic relief pots, Roman coins, post-Byzantine pots show the people’s timeless preference for a place that must have been quite gifted to hold them. From the 6th millennium BC, to the present day”

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(Sourcehttps://www.xronos.gr/ereyna/nomos-xanthis-arhaiologika-eyrimata-sto-fos)

xanthi-map

Also in the Prefecture of Xanthi, at sites Filia, Potamia, Chryssa, Thermes, ‘prehistoric’ settlements have been found, but Archaeologists have not yet provided more information to the public, whether they refer to the Neolithic, Palaeolithic or other ‘prehistoric’ period.

Research-Selection-Translation: Philaretus Homerides

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