Recent research by The Diros Project, a five-year excavation program in Diros Bay, Greece, has uncovered the remains of an ancient town and burial complex dating from the Neolithic and Age bronze. In addition to the Neolithic couple of “spoons” which has been highlighted in recent press articles, the archaeological team also discovered several other burials and the remains of an ancient village which suggest that the bay was an important center in Antiquity. Located outside the entrance to Alepotrypa Cave, the Ksagounaki site has yielded Neolithic buildings and burials of adults and children which indicate that the sites together were part of a huge ritual complex and of settlement.
Although the cave of Alepotrypa was used for domestic and ritual purposes throughout the Neolithic period (around 6300-3000 BC. This period in Greece is marked by extensive trade networks, as well as the introduction of copper tools, laying the foundations for the Bronze Age that followed.
Dr William Parkinson of the Field Museum explains that perhaps the most surprising find was a Mycenaean period burial structure, filled with disjointed bones of dozens of individuals accompanied by painted pottery from the Late Bronze Age, from exotic stone beads, ivory and a Mycenaean dagger made of bronze. Parkinson and his team have suggested that the megalithic buildings of Ksagounaki, built during the Neolithic Age, may have attracted the attention of the Mycenaeans more than 2,000 years after their abandonment.
An international team of archaeologists including Dr Anastasia Papathanasiou (Studies and Ephoria of spléology and paleoanthropology), Dr William Parkinson (The Field Museum), Dr Michael Galaty (Mississippi State University), Dr Daniel Pullen (Florida State University), and Dr Panagiotis Karkanas (American School of Classical Studies in Athens completed the five-year project.
The Diros project was coordinated by the Ephorate of Paleoanthropology and Speleology of the Ministry of Culture, under the direction of Dr Giorgos Papathanassopoulos (Honorary Ephora of Antiquities). The project focused on the publication of the findings of the Alepotrypa cave, the study of the surroundings and the excavation of Ksagounaki. In 2011, after a season of archaeological exploration, the site was the subject of a more in-depth investigation. Excavations began at the site in 2012 and ended in 2014.
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