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by Archaeology Newsroom

Palaeolithic quarries and workshops at Nea Artaki on the island of Euboea

Among the Euboean sites, in which flint implements have been located, Nea Artaki presents the most impressive picture as far as the area, number and variety of findings are concerned. Thousands of stone tools have been found on the surface together with a few fragments of pottery from the historical period. A few shells from the Middle Palaeolithic period and a pile of shells from the Chalcolithic age have also been found on different sites. The actual area of this prehistoric site is estimated to be even more extensive. A part of it has been taken over by the modern Nea Artaki town and by the sea .

The bulk of stone tools is mainly concentrated in two sites, where large quantities of flint appear. In these two sites (about 1 km. apart from each other) all phases of prehistoric tool cutting from local flint are apparent. Cores, flakes, finished and unfinished tools, broken tools and even pebbles which were probably used as hammerstones.

The two rich flint deposits at Nea Artaki have evidently been used as quarries and work sites for the construction of lithic implements during different Palaeolithic (and possibly Mesolithic) phases. The same sites must also have had a residential use. According to the typology of tools (found by groups at different locations) and construction techniques the finds can be classified in the Lower, Middle, Upper Palaeolithic period, and probably in the Mesolithic, and Neolithic period as well.

Hence, we assume that a series of prehistoric cultures existed on the island of Euboea.

Due to corrosion and ploughing, traces from different cultures can be found on the ground’s surface. The high density of prehistoric implements found near the two flint locations supports the hypothesis that the abundance of flint to be found in Nea Artaki drew humans to inhabit this area. This hard and compact stone deposit is perfectly suitable for making tools with high impact and long resistance. Furthermore, it is highly probable that the mild climate, the low altitude and the existence of food and water in this area created favourable conditions for the settlement of human groups near the “quarry” and working sites. Sites have not been excavated as yet. The classification of artifacts is based upon typotechnological data. Tools illustrated here are from the author’s collection.