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Palaeolithic Investigations at Klithi: Preliminary Results of the 1984 and 1985 Field Seasons

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  27 September 2013

Abstract

Field-work in 1984 and 1985 centred on the Klithi rockshelter has combined excavation and analysis of finds with palaeoenvironmental and palaeogeographical studies of the wider regional setting. Radiocarbon dates show that the deposits so far excavated extend from 10,000 BP to 17,000 BP. Excavations have concentrated on the uppermost levels (10,000 BP to 12,500 BP) immediately accessible below the surface, in order to develop methods for investigating spatial variation in the distribution of materials in the deposit. They have revealed a large hearth area in the back of the shelter as a major focus of activity. New details of the flint industry and faunal remains are presented, along with preliminary indications of spatial patterning. There is evidence for the performance of a wide range of subsistence activities based on locally available resources as well as evidence, in the form of exotic flint and marine shells, for contacts over a wide area. Palaeogeographical methods of analysis based on field mapping of geology, relief and terrain have been developed to define the distribution and density of the main herbivores under Pleniglacial conditions. Both the evidence from excavation and from these wider palaeogeographical studies emphasize the small scale of human activities, the small size of residential groups, and the likelihood of seasonal movements and social contacts over very extensive territories during the Upper Palaeolithic period.

Type
Research Article
Copyright
Copyright © The Council, British School at Athens 1986

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References

1 For further details see G. N. Bailey, C. S. Gamble, H. P. Higgs, C. Roubet, D. P. Webley, J. A. J. Gowlett, D. A. Sturdy, and C. Turner (in press); Gillespie, R., Gowlett, J. A. J., Hall, E. T., Hedges, R. E. M., and Perry, C., Archaeometry 27 (1985) 237–46.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

2 e.g. Leroi-Gourhan, A. and Brezillon, M., Gallia Préhistoire, supplément vii (Paris 1972)Google Scholar; Hietala, H. (ed.), Intrasite Spatial Analysis in Archaeology (Cambridge 1984).Google Scholar

3 Higgs, E. S., Vita-Finzi, C., Harris, D. R., and Fagg, A. E., PPS 33 (1967) 129Google Scholar; Bailey, G. N., Carter, P. L., Gamble, C. S., and Higgs, H. P., in Bailey, G. N. (ed.), Hunter-Gatherer Economy in Prehistory (Cambridge 1983).Google Scholar

4 Financial support for field-work in 1984 and 1985 was provided by the British Academy, the British School at Athens, the National Geographic Society, and the Society of Antiquaries. Items of equipment were loaned by the Universities of Cambridge, London, and Southampton. We are grateful to the following institutions for granting permits and permission for the field-work: the British School at Athens; the Ministry of Culture and Sciences, Directorate of Prehistoric and Classical Antiquities, Athens; the Ephorate of Prehistoric and Classical Antiquities, Ioannina; the Ephorate of Speleology and Palaeoanthropology, Athens; the Institute of Geological and Mineralogical Research, Athens; the Metropolitanate of Konitsa; and the Village Council of Klithonia. We would also like to thank the following individuals for their co-operation: Mr E. Andreou, Mrs I. Andreou, Dr H. Catling, Mrs E. Deilake, Dr Ch. Ioachim, Metropolitan Sebastian, and Dr I. Tzedakis.

5 Individual responsibilities in this paper are: G. N. Bailey, excavation; C. S. Gamble, fauna; H. P. Higgs, recording systems and computing; C. Roubet, lithic industry; D. A. Sturdy and D. P. Webley, palaeogeography. However, as joint authors we naturally take collective responsibility for the work reported here. We would like to thank C. Merchant for assistance with the computing work and J. Ogden for her excellent illustrations produced under the most difficult of field conditions. We also draw attention to the work of our colleagues: E. Adam, Upper Palaeolithic flint industries at Kastritsa and Asprochaliko; S. Arndt, bone industry; J. A. J. Gowlett, dating and palacoenvironments; E. Moss, examination of flint edge-wear; M. Newcomer, flint technology and experimental work; J. C. Shackleton, marine shells; C. Turner and K. Willis, palaeobotany. Some of this work will be referred to briefly in the text but will be reported in detail elsewhere.

6 Bailey et al., in Bailey (ed.), op. cit. (1983).

7 Bailey, , Carter, , Gamble, , Higgs, , and Roubet, , BSA 79 (1984) 722.Google Scholar

8 Leroi-Gourhan and Brezillon, op. cit.; Binford, L. R., In Pursuit of the Past (London 1983).Google Scholar

9 The numbers of layers are provisional. Numerical sequence does not necessarily correlate with stratigraphic sequence. Each trench has its own sequence of layer numbers to avoid prejudgements about stratigraphic correlation (apart from the Layer 1 and Layer 14 surface deposits).

10 The following definitions are used, following Tixier: a blade is at least 50 mm long and at least twice as long as it is broad; a bladelet is not wider than 12 mm and at least twice as long as it is broad.

11 Types 45 and 50 of Tixier, corresponding to the micro-gravette point and backed bladelet categories of the D. de Sonneville-Bordes and J. Perrot system.

12 E. H. Moss (in press).

13 By S. Wilford.

14 By M. Newbury.

15 We use the term Capra here, rather than ibex or goat, to avoid any preconceptions based on the modern behaviour of wild ibex and domestic goat, neither of which is necessarily a useful guide to the behaviour of Pleistocene caprids.

16 Van Andel, T. and Shackleton, J. C., Journal of Field Archaeology 9 (1982) 445–54Google Scholar, have applied a sea-level of – 130 m. We also note that a uniform uplift of 1 m per millennium, which is a perfectly possible average (King, G. C. P. and Bailey, G. N., PPS 51, (1985) 273–82Google Scholar), would only put conventional sea-level estimates out by 20 m for the period we are considering. The amount of extra land revealed for sea-level at 100 m or even 150 m is not great.

17 When the sea was further away it would have had less ameliorating effect on winter conditions in the hinterland. Larger areas of snow and a longer period of snow cover would also increase the severity of cold air sinkage in inland basins. Even if winter precipitation was slight, frost, in the form of ice-encrusted plants, was probably a bigger enemy to animals than snow. Another uncertainty stems from the fact that the modern permanent snow-line is very close to the tops of the highest mountains, and might be lower if the mountains were higher.

18 Rackham, O., BSA 78 (1983) 291351.Google Scholar

19 Soils from the Last Glacial are rare, which we believe to be due either to slow rates of soil formation or high rates of colluvial soil removal under glacial conditions. Hence we rely on the surface rocks for our assessments.

20 Clark, J. G. D., Addison-Wesley Modular Publications 10 (1972) 142.Google Scholar His figures are 190.5 kg dead weight for a stag, of which 60 per cent (114.3 kg) is usable meat, which we have rounded to 120 kg.

21 e.g. equivalent deer carcasses in winter are [269/2 + 347 + 60] × 8% = 43.3. Caloric yield is 43.3 ×180,000 = 7,794,000 kcal per annum. The requirement of a minimum human group of 4.5 equivalent adults is 14,000 × 365 = 5,110,000. So the herds could support six to seven humans without depletion of resources.

22 Bailey et al., in Bailey (ed.), op. cit. (1983).

23 Bailey, , Carter, , Gamble, , and Higgs, , PPS 49 (1983) 1442.Google Scholar

24 Bailey et al., in Bailey (ed.), op. cit. (1983).

25 Wobst, H. M., Am. Antiq. 39 (1974) 147–78.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

26 Gamble, in Bailey (ed.), op. cit. (1983).

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