FRANCHTHI CAVE - 2011
Type of Operation
Franchthi Cave. M.C. Stiner and N.D. Munro report on analysis of faunal remains from Trench F/AN, focusing on the Mesolithic/Neolithic transition (this trench contains Lower Mesolithic - Late Neolithic deposits). Analysis of the entire Final Mesolithic and Initial Neolithic sequence not present in Trench H1-B, 2 was completed, and progress made towards the incorporation of the complete Neolithic sequence.
A total of 4028 bones was identified from units 125-174, which encapsulate the Final Mesolithic, Initial Neolithic and half of the remaining Neolithic units in F/AN. The taxonomic composition of the Mesolithic sample (NISP = ~1000) is similar to that from the very end of the Mesolithic sequence from H1/B and includes large numbers of red deer and diverse small game taxa, most importantly medium-sized fish (sparids), hares, turtles and fox. Birds are virtually absent. The composition of the Neolithic assemblage indicates an abrupt shift in taxonomic composition compared to the hunted assemblages of the Mesolithic. Neolithic assemblages are dominated by domestic sheep/goat remains (>65%). Domestic pig and cattle are also represented. Some wild taxa, such as red deer, hare and fox, are present in notable proportions, attesting to a continued hunting tradition. Fish, a mainstay of Mesolithic diets, are virtually absent from the Neolithic assemblage. The marked shifts in Neolithic diet are accompanied by notable increases of carnivore gnawing on disposed bones (9.1%). This coincides with the appearance of small numbers of domestic dog remains (n=15) in the Neolithic deposits. Preliminary results from Trench F/AN thus support the hypothesis that the Neolithic domestic economy arrived at Franchthi Cave as a package, with no evidence of in situ domestication.
C. Perlès reports the near completion of the study of personal ornaments, with a detailed classification of steatite, serpentinite and mica schist beads and pendants made in order to relate raw material properties and manufacturing techniques. Experiments were made in the production of steatite beads, exclusively using replicas of prehistoric stone tools.
Date of creation