Faunal evidence for the Neolithic colonization of Franchthi Cave, Greece (ca. 7000-6500 cal BC)

Author(s): Natalie Munro; Mary Stiner

Year: 2015


Franchthi Cave is a pivotal case in research on the mechanisms of the forager-producer transition in the southern Balkans region. Publications on this site have documented the geological, artifactual and macrobotanical records, but detailed information on the faunas is lacking. This zooarchaeological study focuses on the Final Mesolithic and Initial Neolithic periods and the question of whether livestock were adopted as isolated components by late Mesolithic foragers or the site was colonized by people who possessed a fully agricultural lifestyle. This question is addressed using zooarchaeological and taphonomic data, since minor stratigraphic mixing may underlie earlier perceptions of a gradual inclusion of domestic animals into the diet. Changes in taxonomic abundance, contrasting patterns of burning damage, and caprine demographic and body-size data together reveal an abrupt shift from a broad spectrum diet during the Final Mesolithic period to a highly domestic economy in the Initial Neolithic that centered on caprines (sheep and goats). The caprines that the colonists brought to Franchthi were small in size, and these animals were intensively managed to optimize meat production. The evidence indicates a wholesale replacement of Mesolithic economies by a Neolithic package at Franchthi Cave soon after 7000 cal. BC.

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Cite this Record

Faunal evidence for the Neolithic colonization of Franchthi Cave, Greece (ca. 7000-6500 cal BC). Natalie Munro, Mary Stiner. Presented at The 80th Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, San Francisco, California. 2015 ( tDAR id: 394968)


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Spatial Coverage

min long: -11.074; min lat: 37.44 ; max long: 50.098; max lat: 70.845 ;