Aegeus Society For Aegean Prehistory


3 February 2016

Initial occupation of the Gelibolu Peninsula and the Gökçeada (Imbroz) island in the pre-Neolithic and Early Neolithic

Onur Özbek & Burçin Erdogu Eurasian Prehistory 11 (1-2) (2014): 97-128


This article presents the results of recent surveys and excavations in the Turkish part of the North Aegean. The archaeological discoveries made on the island of Gökçeada (Imbroz) and on the adjacent Gallipoli Peninsula in the years since 1998 are shedding new light on the early prehistory of Turkish Thrace. For instance, the survey work at Üçdutlar on the Gallipoli Peninsula has recently produced reliable evidence that human groups frequented the site on a seasonal basis at several different times ranging from the Early Upper Paleolithic to the Epipalaeolithic.

The early site called Eskino on Gökçeada has yielded chipped stone tools that date to the Middle Paleolithic and also the Epi-paleolithic. During the time of low sea level at the Last Glacial Maximum, the islands of Gökçeada, Samothrace, Limnos, Ayos Evstratious and Bozcaada were connected with one another and with the mainland as well. With the rapid rise in sea level between 20,000 and 7,000 years ago, all of these future islands began to form – at one time or another – and to separate from each other.

The story of island formation is, of course, a complex and dynamic one. Major advances have been made in the last ten years but much work remains to be done on questions such as the rates of local tectonic activity on the respective islands. Thus, current knowledge of island formation at the head of the Aegean Sea is still at the first level of approximation. The excavations in progress at the site of Uğurlu on Gökçeada show that an early farming community had reached the island by around 6,500 cal BC. This settlement now plays a leading role in the study of the Neolithic transition in this part of the Mediterranean Sea as well as the circulation and exchange of material culture on the basis of voyaging in the Early Neolithic period.



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