New evidence for the Palaeolithic in Attica, Greece
Despite Greece’s key geographic position between southeast Europe and southwest Asia, and its potential for documenting hominin dispersals, Lower and Middle Palaeolithic sites are rare. This suggests the need for research to identify deposits that may contain Palaeolithic artefacts. Here we describe 165 quartz and quartzite artefacts with Palaeolithic characteristics (based on technical and morphotypological definitions) from a private collection that was made from erosional lag deposits on the southeastern slopes of Mt. Pendeli and the northern edge of the Spata polje (a large karstic depression filled with terra rossas) in northeast Attica. Artefacts of the same type occur in the region of Ano Souli, another karstic depression. These karstic depressions are of interest because they resemble artefact-bearing deposits found at similar features such as Kokkinopilos in Epirus that have provided datable geologic contexts for Lower and Middle Palaeolithic artefacts. Our study suggests that Attica was frequented by hominins in the Lower and Middle Palaeolithic and that Pleistocene deposits in karstic depressions in Attica may preserve datable contexts for documenting early human activity. The lithic collection described here provides a glimpse of the potential of the region, and we recommend continued archaeological efforts in Attica to investigate the likelihood for buried Palaeolithic sites.
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