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by Archaeology Newsroom

Neolithic Avgi in Kastoria. A settlement 7500 years old

A few years ago, in the rural district of Avgi of Kastoria in Western Macedonia, the ploughing of the fields brought to light remnants of a prehistoric settlement stretching over about seven acres of land. A research excavation began recently by the IZ Ephorate of Prehistoric and Classical Antiquities with the full material and moral support of the local community. According to the first archaeological and archaeometrical estimations, the site of this settlement had been in use, probably at intervals, for many generations between 5600 and 5000 BC approximately. The Neolithic Avgi settlement had developed on mildly sloping ground, in the area of a Mesohellenic rut, with a hill, a rich hydrographic network and abundant argilliferous matter. The deciduous oak forests round the settlement were easily accessible to the inhabitants of the settlement and the surrounding land was sufficient for cultivation and cattle-raising. The picture that emerged from the excavation of the years 2002 and 2003 over an area of 750 square metres was that of a large settlement of the mid sixth century BC presenting two phases of architecture. Parts of four or five rectangular in plan buildings have been revealed with ample open-air spaces of multiple use. The basic building materials of the settlement were wood, clay, and plants ,aquatic or other. Piles of tree trunks were arranged sparsely , interconnected with a mesh of vertical and horizontal branches covered by successive layers of processed clay. The inhabitants of Neolithic Avgi were farmers and cattle breeders. They also collected and hunted and participated in trans-local exchange networks through which they got mainly “exotic” goods such as jewelry made of knuckles. The immediate operation of an archaeological laboratory equipped with modern technology is one of the targets of the long-range research program of the Avgi excavations. Provision has also been made for the extensive and thorough excavation of the entire Neolithic settlement, the creation of an archaeological area that can be visited and the operation of educational programs on Experimental Archaeology.