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by Archaeology Newsroom

Imbros in the Early Bronze Age

Imbros, the fourth largest island of the North Aegean, lies across the Thracian peninsula and has a strategic position in the region. Its close proximity to Asia Minor and Thrace, and to the islands Samothrace and Lemnos have made it an important navigation junction in the North Aegean. The references of Imbros in the Homeric epic underlines its relevant significance in early antiquity, while it appears to participate in the historical happening of the Helladic area, from the early fifth century AD. Until then all the information concerning the island come from the Homeric references and the explicit testimony of ancient sources, according which the pro-Hellenic tribe of Pelasgians had settled there.

In 1990 the first prehistoric sites and a settlement in the centre of the north valley of the island were located. The results of the research carried out so far iead to the conclusion that many centres of proto-urban form existed in the islands of the East and North Aegean, which were created at the same time or approximately so as Poliochni on Lemnos. The foundation and development of these centres is owed to their location on the route of transporting and trading copper. In the last five years we have located an exceptionally big number of relevant prehistoric settlements, scattered along this route.

It is certain that Imbros, like the neighbouring islands, during the late Neolithic period received a wave of emigrants from the Thracian and Minor Asia coasts. Owing to its mountainous landscape, the island consists of small geographic entities. During our visits and itineraries around Imbros we have located about thirty prehistoric sites along its coastline and in the hinterland and we have established that there is a clear gradation in size and importance in their structures. The excavation research carried on by the University of Ancara on the hill of Haghios Phloros have brought to light a wealth of information regarding the organization of settlements during the Early Bronze Age. The finds discovered so far prove that the area had already been inhabited in a pre-Trojan phase, in the late Neolithic period. An important centre functioned here during the Early Bronze Age and throughout the second millennium BC. Finally, the discovery of Mycenaean sherds verifies the contacts and relations of the prehistoric inhabitants of Imbros with the Mycenaeans as well as the long existence of an alive settlement in the same location.