Aegeus Society For Aegean Prehistory


1 November 2018

The Neolithic landscape and settlement of the island of Gökçeada (Imbros, Turkey)

Burçin Erdoğu In M. Ghilardi, F. Leandri, J. Bloemendal, L. Lespez & S. Fachard (eds) 2016. Géoarchélogie des îles de Mediterranée, Paris: 89-94.

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The recent archaeological discoveries on the island of Gökçeada (Imbros) shed new light on the early Prehistory of the North Aegean Islands. The earliest finds date from the Middle Palaeolithic period, and possible Mesolithic/ Epi-palaeolithic chipped stone tools were discovered in the eastern part of the island. Stratigraphic excavations at the site of Uğurlu have clarified the spatial extent of the settlement from Preceramic or Initial Neolithic occupation onwards. Uğurlu Phase VI is dated to 6700-6500 cal. BC. A site near the Salt Lake is probably contemporary with Uğurlu Phase VI. The Neolithic Phase V (6500-6000 cal. BC) at Uğurlu has signs of continuity, and the permanent settlers were agriculturalists who introduced domestic sheep, goats, cattle and pigs to the island. The distribution of Melian and Central Anatolian obsidian suggests long-distance exchange mechanisms during the Neolithic. The sea level and shoreline in the Aegean were different during prehistoric times compared to the present day. During the low sea level of the Last Glacial Maximum the island of Gökçeada, together with all of the North Aegean Islands, was connected to the mainland. Gökçeada, together with Lemnos, became an island probably just after the Younger Dryas, and they were connected by an isthmus. Around 7000-6500 cal. BC, sea level was 20 m lower than today and the separate island of Gökçeada lay close to the Gelibolu Peninsula.


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