Micromorphological studies of Greek prehistoric sites: New insights in the interpretation of the archaeological record



Ongoing micromorphological studies in several prehistoric sites of Greece (Theopetra cave, Boila rockshelter, Alonnisos, Drakaina cave, Kouveleiki cave, Lakonis cave complex, and Dispilio lake dwelling) provide new information on the relationship between environmental changes and the cultural history of the sites. The frequent climatic oscillations during the last glacial directly influenced the occupational mode of Theopetra cave and Boila rockshelter in northern Greece. Soil micromorphology may be a promising tool in unraveling differences in the occupational history due to climatic changes among diverse areas of Greece. Some preliminary observations from the Lakonis cave complex, in southern coastal Greece, support the existence of such differences. Evidence brought forward with the micromorphological study of Dispilio lake dwelling and Theopetra cave suggests that during the Holocene, aridification phases evident in the Mediterranean region might have also played a role in the Greek prehistoric settlement pattern. So far, evidence for aridification phases is present for the end of the Mesolithic and probably for part of the Final Neolithic. In several cases, micromorphology has revealed details of the cultural nature of the sites. Questions related to occupational intensity (Theopetra, Lakonis, Kouveleiki, and Drakaina caves), post-depositional changes and cultural modification of the sediments (Alonnisos, Theopetra, and Drakaina caves), constructions (Theopetra and Drakaina caves), and stratigraphic correlation (Boila) have been satisfactorily addressed along with the analysis of the microstructure of the sediments. © 2002 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.