20.3.17

8,000-year-old households and 120,000 animal bones in ancient pastures at Kleitos, Kozani


The site of Kleitos is situated near the city of Kozani, in Northern Greece. Rescue excavations of the settlement were carried out during 2006 – 2010 by the Ephorate of Antiquities of Kozani, under the supervision of Ch. Ziota. Two Neolithic settlements were unearthed, Kleitos 1, dated to Late Neolithic and Kleitos 2, dated to Final Neolithic. Kleitos 2 is located 100 m. northeast of Kleitos 1.

During the excavation of the settlement an attempt was made to collect soil samples from all the excavated units.

As a result more than 6000 samples were collected from the site and are in process. (Stylianakou & Valamoti, in press). The archaeobotanical data presented here have been preserved by carbonization, are dated to Late and Final Neolithic periods and correspond to various habitation phases. 



The archaeological site at Kleitos is situated in the basin of Kitrini Limni (Yellow Lake), in a short distance from the town of Kozani. It was inhabited from the second half of the 6th millennium until the 2nd millennium BC, and then again during historical times. From 2006 until 2010 a rescue excavation took place at the site in advance of expansion of the lignite mine operated by DEI (Public Power Corporation). The excavation covered 7.5 hectares and has brought to light two Neolithic settlements (“Kleitos 1” and “Kleitos 2”), remains from the Bronze Age Period, late Roman burials, a stone building of historical date as well as a number of movable finds dating from the Hellenistic till the early Byzantine Period.

“Kleitos 1” is a flat, sparsely built settlement and covers an area of 2 hectares. It is bounded by a system of ditches and wooden enclosures. It was inhabited during the early Late Neolithic Period (second half of the 6th and the beginning of the 5th millennium BC) and has been almost completely excavated. Ten large rectangular buildings have been revealed. They had been constructed using a wooden framework coated with clay. The walls, which had been founded in trenches, were coated with plaster and had grooved and painted decoration. Inside the buildings clay-built installations were designed for the purposes of food preparation and storage, and tools and pots were also found. These buildings were destroyed by fire and none of them preserve more than three construction phases.

Between the buildings and around the complex large storage jars, refuse pits and at least 30 structures have been revealed. Most of them are circular and their floor is made of clay and pebbles, with its top surface coated with clay and burnt in many places. A pit-well has also been excavated with a number of intact pots and pieces of waterlogged wood laid at its bottom. Sixteen Neolithic burials have been uncovered, consisting of inhumations and one cremation inside a pot. They are single burials, except one double burial of an adult with a child.

The settlement “Kleitos 2” is located less than 100 m away. It covers an area of 0.25 hectares and has up to three building phases. It was inhabited mainly in the late Late and Final Neolithic Period. It has a more compact form, limited open spaces and post-framed buildings, with clay-built structures and storage pots in their interior. Four buildings have been excavated, whose structure consisted of wooden frameworks coated with clay; their walls had been founded in trenches. Inside and outside the settlement’s boundaries fourteen burials have come to light, most of which were secondary cremation burials placed inside pots.

From the Middle Bronze Age a curving ditch has been preserved with large quantities of pottery together with a deposit containing a similar context. In addition a pit was found with remains of a ritual activity. A settlement of the Middle Bronze Age Period hasn’t been found, but it is possible that it has been damaged by later activities in the area.
More than 120,000 (!) Animal bones, mainly domestic, the largest Zooarchaeology material excavated to date in the Greek area, collected from the Neolithic village of Clayton.

95% of the material relates to domestic animals such
sheep, pigs, cattle and goats, while only 4-5% is from game, deer, wild boars, hares, foxes, wild cattle.
Over 500; crates collected archaeologists and huge material considering the Zooarchaeology Vaso Tzevelekidi, which said the "nation" that "this number is able to draw useful conclusions for animal consumption in the Neolithic settlement, the strategic management of herds, as well as the Neolithic man seen flocks bred primarily for meat and then milk and wool. "

The breeding of animals began in the Neolithic era the 5th millennium BC and marks the transition from food-gathering to food producing and accompanied by the cultivation of cereals and pulses.
The absence game does not mean that the Neolithic people did not hunt, but their diet was not based on hunting as it had already started the domestication of animals and cultivation of land.

So far a small percentage has been recorded about 15,000 bones, which represent 12% of the total material.

According to Zooarchaeology, there were large herds with hundreds of animals each, but livestock concerns the families of the village and their needs.

As regards domestic animals, mainly dealing with sheep in the vast majority, sheep and a much smaller proportion goats. Here pigs and cattle. Livestock aimed at meat production and also secondary products such as meat, wool and milk are also less in use.

Also, as noted, there were huge herds and thousands of animals, but there is a herd, the size of which must be taken into account.


Another very important element, because it has excavated the entire settlement and no specific stratigraphic elements and individual buildings for the individual phases, is one of the few opportunities to establish the specific consumption patterns, he said. Indeed, the lack of refrigerators that time means that residents shared carcases element that strengthens social relations of societies at the time.


PLANT REMAINS FROM NEOLITHIC SITE OF KLEITOS, NORTHERNGREECEStylianakou Charoula 1, Valamoti S. M. 21Ephorate of Antiquities of Kozani, 2Associate Professor, School of History and Archaeology, Aristotle University of Thessaloniki

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