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Neolithic Lime Plastered Floors in Drakaina Cave, Kephalonia Island, Western Greece: Evidence of the Significance of the Site

  • Panagiotis Karkanas (a1) and Georgia Stratouli (a2)

Abstract

The Neolithic layers of Drakaina Cave in Kefalonia Island are characterized by several successive well-preserved plaster floors. These constructed floors, along with the relating archaeological sediments, were examined using micromorphological techniques, which involve the study of petrographie thin sections produced by resin-impregnated, undisturbed blocks of sediment.

At Drakaina, lime plaster was identified as the construction material of the floors, which consist of a mixture of clay and burnt lime as well as a large amount (30–40%) of lime lumps with signs of incomplete transformation to quicklime during the burning process. The raw material used for the production of lime was the soft Neogene mari and limestone found in the nearby areas of the site. The presence of large amounts of lime lumps as a form of plaster aggregate is most likely the product of traditional ‘hot mixing’ or ‘dry slaking’ techniques.

The periodically repeated construction of the stable lime plaster floors in Drakaina using the same techniques as well as the same raw material suggests—among other things—the significance of the site as a locus of recurring social activity. The long lasting consistent method of floor construction combined with possible intensive activity at times implies that the cave and the surrounding environment were of particular importance to the Neolithic community of the area.

Τα νεολιθικά στρώματα του Σπηλαίου Δράκοανα στην Κεφαλονιά χαρακτηρίζονται από αλλεπάλληλα και καλά διατηρημένα δάπεδα. Τα κατασκευασμένα αυτά δάπεδα μαζί με τις αρχαιολογικές τους αποθέσεις μελετήθηκαν με τη μέθοδο της μικρομορφολογίας, η οποία συνίσταται στη μελέτη πετρογραφικών λεπτών τομών από αδιατάρακτα δείγματα επίχωσης, εμποτισμένα προηγουμένως με ειδικές ρητίνες.

Στη Δράκαινα αναγνωρίστηκε ότι το υλικό κατασκευής των δαπέδων είναι ασβεστοκονίαμα αποτελούμενο από μείγμα αργίλου και ασβέστη μαζί με μεγάλη ποσότητα (30–40%) αδιάλυτων συσσωματωμάτων ασβέστη ως αποτέλεσμα της ατελούς μετατροπής του ασβεστόλιθου κατά την πύρωση. Ως πρώτη ύλη για την παρασκευή του ασβέστη χρησιμοποιήθηκαν νεογενείς μαλακές μάργες και ασβεστόλιθοι της περιοχής. Η παρουσία μεγάλων ποσοτήιων συσσωματωμάτων ασβέστη ως συνδετικό υλικό είναι αποτέλεσμα συγκεκριμένης τεχνικής, γνωστής ως “μείξη ασβέστη εν θερμώ”.

Η περιοδική κατασκευή στέρεων δαπέδων από ασβεστοκονίαμα στη Δράκαινα με την ίδια τεχνική και την ίδια πρώτη ύλη υποδεικνύει -μεταξύ άλλων- τη σημασία της θέσης ως τόπου επαναλαμβανόμενης κοινωνικής δραστηριότητας. Η επί μακρόν αμετάβλητη μέθοδος κατασκευής των δαπέδων, συνδυαζόμενη με την εντατική κατά καιρούς χρήση της θέσης, υποδηλώνουν ότι το σπήλαιο και το ευρύτερο περιβάλλον του ήταν ιδιαίτερα σημαντικά για τη νεολιθική κοινότητα της περιοχής.

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References

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Neolithic Lime Plastered Floors in Drakaina Cave, Kephalonia Island, Western Greece: Evidence of the Significance of the Site

  • Panagiotis Karkanas (a1) and Georgia Stratouli (a2)

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