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by Archaeology Newsroom

Palaeolithic sites in Euboea and the northern Sporades

Although a systematic excavation of the location of Palaeolithic sites on Euboea has not been carried out until today, quite many Paleolithic sites have been found among numerous Neolithic ones, during the surveys conducted in the 1970s and 1980s. Most of them lie in Northern and central Euboea.The northern part of the island, especially, being more wooded and with an abundance of water, seems to have better served the living of the people of that time. All the sites of Northern Euboea, such as Hagios Georgios, Hagios Athanassios, Prokopi, Agia Anna. Kotsikia, Kerassia, Paliochori Rovion, have produced lithic material excusively of the Middle Palaeolithic era, while on central Euboea tools of the Lower and Upper Palaeolithic era have been found. Although no Palaeolithic site has yet been located on Northern Euboea, it is certain that this picture will be changed by the results of a systematic excavation. The habitation of places on mountains or close to rivers must be related to the presence of game. The Palaeolithic hunters might had moved to the highlands in the summer, where there would have been an abundance of grass for the animals. The sites at Nea Artaki, Kotsikia, Hagia Anna, which lie close to the sea, can be considered as winter settlements. The Palaeolithic sites on Euboea must generally be related to the emigration of animals and must had been situated either on the animals’ routes or close to springs. Quite many Middle Palaeolithic sites have also been found on the Northern Sporades. At a time when the sea level was much lower than it is now, this insular group was united with Thessaly and Northern Euboea. In recent years, with the occasion of the Kyklopas cave excavation on Joura, a survey of all the small islands of the group was carried out, which brought to light more Palaeolithic sites, beside the two already known. On Alonnessos, Kyra Panaghia, Gramiza, Joura and Psathoura the Palaeolithic sites, which have been located, also show the existence of primitive navigation, since the desert islands of Northern Sporades had not always been united. The excavation in the Kyklopas cave proved that during the Mesolithic period (8th millennium BC) there was specialized fishing and quite advanced navigation, thus suggesting the existence of a tradition in similar activities in the area of the Northern Sporades . Human activity in the area of Sporades seems to be related with the existence of game. Beside Kokkinokastro on Alonnessos, excavated in the past as well as recently, a rich fauna must have had also existed on the other small islands. However, Prehistoric people might well have been interested in fishing, since the sea around the Sporades has always offered the best fishing in the entire Aegean. We believe that in the future research should be targeted at the location of sites on the bigger islands, such as Skopelos, Skiathos and Alonnessos, which exhibit rich feeding sources.