Aegeus Society For Aegean Prehistory


1 December 2009

Use of space in a Neolithic village in Greece (Makri): Phytolith analysis and comparison of phytolith assemblages from an ethnographic setting in the same area

Georgia Tsartsidou, Simcha Lev-Yadun, Nikos Efstratiou & Steve Weiner Journal of Archaeological Science 36.10 (October 2009): 2342-2352.


Phytolith analyses were conducted in a pottery Neolithic village (Makri) of Northern Greece in order to reconstruct aspects of past human activities as a function of both space and time. The analyses of phytolith assemblages were based on a reference collection of modern plant phytoliths, as well as an ethnographic study in an agropastoral community (Sarakini) in the same area that showed that many phytolith assemblages are characteristic of the activities carried out in different locations within and around the village. The same approach was used for studying the phytolith assemblages in the Neolithic village of Makri, namely measuring phytolith concentrations, diversities of phytolith assemblages relative to control samples collected from samples outside the village and detailed analysis of various phytolith morphotypes. At Makri samples from floors and various constructions (i.e. pit, platforms) were analysed, as well as sediments from an open area inside the village. The results show that Neolithic Makri was a society with a mixed agricultural and pastoral economy. Wheat and barley were cultivated for food and fodder and free-range animals were raised in a village inhabited year round. Indoor areas were not clearly differentiated from outdoor areas inside the village. The phytolith assemblages in only one series of floors produced at a specific location over an extended period of time reflected the use of that space for cereal storage or food processing. The phytolith assemblages from all the other floors examined did not reflect the local activities, but rather the constructional materials used for producing the floors.


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