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by Archaeology Newsroom

Theopetra cave. Palaeolithic deposits

During the nine years of its excavation (1987-1996) the Theopetra cave brought to light deposits of the Middle and Upper Palaeolithic and Neolithic periods. It is not only the first excavated cave in Thessaly, where stratified deposits of the forementioned periods have been found, but it is also the first site in Thessaly in which the Mesolithic period is represented by a separate layer.

The transition from the Mesolithic to the Upper Palaeolithic in the cave is characterized by a hard sediment, about 40 cm. thick, formed during the end of the Upper Palaeolithic phase by dripping or running water. Two more hard sediments have been located, one in Upper Palaeolithic and the other in Middle Palaeolithic layers, which reflect glacial periods of the Pleistocene. Two human skeletons from the Upper Palaeolithic and the Mesolithic have been found, while the masses of unbaked clay, which has been located in very old layers, indicate the use of clay in very early times, long before it started being baked. The stone tools of chocolate colour flint are of perfect quality and exhibit a fine technique, while the bone artifacts and perforated teeth belong to the finds from the Upper Palaeolithic era. Over 30 samples of 14C analysis gave dates ranging from 44,000 years BC to 4,000 years BC.