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|In 1924 Carl Blegen discovered what he termed a "cave"(see photo, left) at the south end of the hill. Further exploration by the University of California at Berkeley team and by us clarified the context of this material and the nature of the "caves." Study of the pottery makes it clear that the hillside was inhabited during the Early and Middle Neolithic periods, approximately from 6000-5000 BCE. The caves seem to be naturally eroded cavities in the marl hillside where beds of gravel had been washed out, though it is entirely possible that humans excavated the gravel and enlarged the caves. Distribution of Neolithic areas over the hillside show that these deposits were scattered along the slopes. Examination of the stratigraphy and remains, however, suggests that these were not areas of habitation, rather dumps, perhaps for garbage.|
|Bone, pottery, stone tools, and even in one instance recorded by Blegen, human skeletal remains, were found mixed all together and not in stratigraphic order. Settlement structures may have been further up the hillside: Neolithic pottery was found in excavation of the crown of the hill but no trace of Neolithic layers or architecture. East of this area, survey teams found an area of Neolithic debris that may represent another "cave" or possible area of residence.|
Due east near the Tretos Pass, site number 702 is worth comparing to the settlement remains on Tsoungiza. Here were recovered traces of habitation defined as pits dug into the marl hillside and containing refuse, including fragments of wattle and daub. Ostensibly these pits were houses. Perhaps a characteristic of Early and Middle Neolithic settlement in the region was habitation areas dug into hillslopes and the deposition of refuse into abandoned pits. (Click here to go to the NVAP AS Internet version at the University of Michigan server for more information on site 702.)
Late NeolithicThis phase seems to be missing at Tsoungiza and apparently in the Nemea Valley. It therefore marks a period of abandonment, or at least radically changed settlement and land use.
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