Excavations at Franchthi Cave, Greece Fascicle 10. Franchthi Neolithic Pottery Volume 2

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Franchthi Neolithic Pottery

Franchthi Cave is located in a limestone headland north of Kiladha Bay, in the southern Argolid of Greece. Today it is a coastal site, but at the beginning of the Neolithic period the cave mouth looked out across a plain cut by several streams to sandy beaches and coastal marshes a kilometer or two distant (Jameson et al. 1994:203; van Andel and Sutton 1987:Fig. 17). By the later Neolithic, subject of the present study, the ongoing rise in sea level had brought the shoreline to within 500 m of the cave and substantially decreased the extent of the coastal plain (Jameson et al. 1994:208, Fig. 3.32). Franchthi was the site of repeated activities by prehistoric peoples from the Upper Palaeolithic through the Neolithic periods. The substantial remains from Middle Neolithic activities in the eastern Peloponnese dwindle to but a few sites in the late Neolithic. Because most of these are cave sites many have seen an increase in pastoralism in the later Neolithic, although shepherds in the hills with their flocks seem unlikely to have spawned the increase in "international" exchange evidenced in their material remains. Nor is it clear what happened to the apparently thriving Middle Neolithic communities. These, then, are the questions that, in addition to more general goals of the entire study, informed my analyses of the later Neolithic ceramics from Franchthi.