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Prehistoric Archaeology The study of cultures, sites and artefacts before historical records began, here more specifically applied for the pre-urban Hunter/Gatherer's phase of mankind.

Klisoura Gorge

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Old Monday, October 25th, 2004   #1
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Post Klisoura Gorge

A sequence from the Paleolithic to the Mesolithic exists at Klisoura Gorge. The sequence has similarities to that of Italy, not least an early, pre-Aurignacian Upper Paleolithic industry that is like the Uluzzian of Italy, which may be evidence of a continuiy between neanderthals and moderns.
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Old Tuesday, October 26th, 2004   #2
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Post Re: Klisoura Gorge

I can't access PDF files (something in acrobat is lacking) but, if this sequence is true, it is certainly one of the longest running cultural sequences in the world.
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Post Re: Klisoura Gorge

Originally Posted by Dr. Solar Wolff
I can't access PDF files (something in acrobat is lacking) but, if this sequence is true, it is certainly one of the longest running cultural sequences in the world.
I'd like to find out if late neanderthals or moderns made the Uluzzian-like industry there. If the Chatelperronian could be made by late neanderthals then the Uluzzian mignt be as well.
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Old Tuesday, October 26th, 2004   #4
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Post Re: Klisoura Gorge

Very interesting.
BTW, my home town is less than 20 km away from Klisoura Gorge!!!!!
I 've been there countless times.
You can talk about water, but your mouth will not be wet.
You can discuss the nature of fire, but your mouth will not be burnt.
You cannot know the nature of fire or water, unless you feel them.
Takuan Soho
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Old Wednesday, January 12th, 2005   #5
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Post Re: Klisoura Gorge

I copied the text over for your benifit, SW, hope it will proof helpful.

Originally Posted by Dr. Solar Wolff
I can't access PDF files (something in acrobat is lacking) but, if this sequence is true, it is certainly one of the longest running cultural sequences in the world.
Journal of Archaeological Science (2001) 28, 515–539
doi:10.1006/jasc.2000.0599, available online at on

The Early Upper Palaeolithic in Greece: The Excavations in
Klisoura Cave
Margarita Koumouzelis

Ephory for Palaeolanthropology and Speleology, Athens, Greece
Boleslaw Ginter and Janusz K. Kozlowski
Institute of Archaeology, Jagellonian University, Krako´w, Poland
Maciej Pawlikowski
University of Mining and Metallurgy, Krako´w, Poland
Ofer Bar-Yosef*
Harvard University, Dept. of Anthropology, Cambridge, MA 02138, U.S.A.
Rosa Maria Albert
University of Barcelona, Faculty of Geography and History, Barcelona, Spain
Maria Litynska-Zajac
Institute of Archaeology and Ethnology, Polish Academy of Science, Krakow, Poland
Ewa Stworzewicz, Piotr Wojtal, Grzegorz Lipecki, Teresa Tomek and
Zbigniew M. Bochenski
Institute of Evolution, Systematics and Ecology, Polish Academy of Science, Krako´w, Poland
Anna Pazdur
Silesian Technical University, Radiocarbon Laboratory, Gliwice, Poland
(Received 15 March 2000, revised manuscript accepted 13 June 2000)
A new Greek sequence of early Upper Palaeolithic, Aurignacian, Epigravettian, and Mesolithic assemblages, which
differs from the sequences of Franchthi and Kephalari caves, was uncovered during the excavations in Cave 1 in
Klisoura Gorge (Western Peloponnese). This is the first case of Middle Palaeolithic deposits immediately covered by an
early Upper Palaeolithic assemblage. The long Middle Palaeolithic in this site underlies a long sequence of Upper
Palaeolithic layers. Most interesting is the Early Upper Palaeolithic industry which contains numerous arched backed
blades and other lithics demonstrating morphological affinities to the Italian Uluzzian, a resemblance that raises
questions concerning the potential makers of this industry. Above it, several Aurignacian levels dated from 24 to 34 ka
 were exposed. This is the first well-dated sequence of Aurignacian occupations in Greece in which a number of
basin-like hearth structures were exposed, lined with a clay that had been brought in and specially prepared. The
Aurignacian sequence is covered by Epigravettian layers. The unconformity between the Epigravettian and the
underlying Aurignacian corresponds to the Last Glacial Maximum. A Mesolithic layer caps the prehistoric sequence.
 2001 Academic Press
*Author for correspondence.
0305–4403/01/050515+25 $35.00/0  2001 Academic Press
The territory of Greece played an important role
in the first spread of Neolithic farmers into
Europe. On the eastern coast of Greece, in
Thessaly and Argolid, the first Neolithic villages
appeared as a result of maritime navigation from
southwest Anatolia through the Aegean Islands
(Runnels & Van Andel, 1982; Van Andel & Runnels,
1995). This scenario is less probable for the spread of
the first modern humans, for whom a more convenient,
terrestrial route existed; from northwest Anatolia to
Thrace through the Bosphorus, which, during the
Interpleniglacial, was easier to cross as the sea level was
50 m below the present (Van Andel & Shackleton,
1982; Van Andel & Tzedakis, 1996). Therefore, during
the colonization of the first modern humans who came
from the Near East to Europe through the northeastern
Balkans, most of Greece was located south of
the main route from Anatolia to the Danube Basin.
Until recently, only sparse information was available
concerning the transition from the Middle to the
Upper Palaeolithic in Greece. The main prehistoric
sequences, based on the excavations carried out in the
1960s and 1980s in western Greece (mainly in Epirus),
lack Interpleniglacial strata, and the Mousterian is
directly superimposed by the Gravettian and/or the
Epigravettian (Bailey & Gamble, 1990). The same
situation exists in Thessaly (Kyparissi-Apostolika,
1999). Human remains from the Interpleniglacial are
also absent from the Greek sites, with the exception
of the skeletal remains from Apidima Cave in the
southern Peloponnese, which, unfortunately were not
published fully with their recorded geochronological
and archaeological context.
Currently, the new excavations of a long Middle–
Upper Palaeolithic sequence at Klisoura, Cave 1 (eastern
Peloponnese), provide an important sequence, not
only for understanding the origin of the Upper Palaeolithic
in this region, but particularly, in the European
context, as supportive evidence for a second possible
route in the spread of modern populations into
Europe. This route seems to follow a similar trajectory
to the later diffusion of the Early Neolithic groups with
impresso pottery over the Northern Mediterranean.
During Neolithic times, this diffusion began in Greece
with the Presesklo-Magoulitsa cultures—and continued
along the eastern Adriatic coast to Italy and the
western Mediterranean countries. This route could also
have been important during the Middle to Upper
Palaeolithic transition, particularly due to the regression
of the Mediterranean Sea, which greatly
diminished the Adriatic Sea, leaving only a shallow
gulf during OIS4 and OIS3.
Given the environmental conditions around 50–
30 ka , one would expect to see cultural evolution
in southern Greece resembling that of the central
Mediterranean rather than the northeastern Balkans
and Danube Basin. In fact, the sequence of the
archaeological occupations in Klisoura, Cave 1—from
the Late Mousterian through the Early Upper Palaeolithic
with arched-backed blades, the Aurignacian, and
the Epigravettian—is closer to that of Italy than to the
well-known sequences from the northeastern Balkans.
In the latter region, the Mousterian was succeeded
by the so-called ‘‘transitional industries’’. These were
based on blade technology and considered as stemming
from the Levallois tradition, thus resembling the Near
Eastern Emiran on one hand and the Bohunician in
Central Europe on the other. They were followed by a
‘‘Pre-Aurignacian’’ industry or the ‘‘Bachokirian’’, and
later by the typical Aurignacian (Kozlowski, 1992).
In the following pages we describe the results of the
excavations at Klisoura Cave 1 and provide detailed
information concerning each of the uncovered
Klisoura Gorge and its Caves
Klisoura Gorge, through which flows the Baratiotis
River, is the main communication route between the
Argive Plain and the Berbati valley (Figure 1). The
gorge is 2·5 to 3 km long and up to 500 m wide, and
cuts deep into Triassic limestones. Karstic phenomena
are responsible for the formation of a large number of
caves and rock shelters in this region, 30 of which have
been recorded (Koumouzelis et al., 1996). Six contain
lithics and sherds spread on the surface, while others
are filled with well-preserved sediments of unknown
At the foot of the limestone cliffs, where the valley
widens, the alluvial fans are covered with flowstones or
topped with cemented layers. The youngest of these
layers produced a radiocarbon date from carbonates of
22,55060  (Gd-3792), indicating that the deposition
of alluvial cones preceded the Last Glacial
Maximum and was probably associated with Interpleniglacial
temperate conditions. The last major phase
of sediment accumulation is represented by the Late
Glacial colluvium that also covers the terraces of the
lower rock shelters and caves, including the terrace in
front of Klisoura Cave 1.
Excavation of Cave 1
Cave 1 in Klisoura Gorge is located in the immediate
vicinity of ‘‘Findspot 201’’, which was discovered during
the Berbati-Limnes Archaeological Survey in 1988–
1990 (Runnels, 1996: figs 5, 8, 9). Mesolithic artifacts
were collected on the surface of this site. In 1993, test
trenches were dug in Caves 4 and 7, while systematic
excavations began in the terrace in front of Cave 1 in
1994 (Figure 2). These field operations were conducted
as a joint project of the Ephory for Palaeoanthropology
and Speleology in Athens and the Institute of
Archaeology of the Jagellonian University in Krako´w,
Poland (Koumouzelis et al., 1996).
516 M. Koumouzelis et al.
The first report, published after two field seasons
(1993, 1994), was based on a 1 m deep section of a
trench dug at the dripline in Cave 1 (trench A). The
layers were subdivided into two ensembles: the
Holocene (layers 1–6) and the Late Pleistocene (layers
6a, 7, 7a, 7b). The upper ensemble contained Mesolithic
flake industries, whereas the lower one yielded
Aurignacian-type flake industries. In 1995–1996, the
trench was lengthened to 3 m and reached a depth of
about 2·1 m, allowing the establishment of a detailed
stratigraphic sequence. The larger section of the trench
exposed the lenticular nature of numerous layers,
which wedge in the direction of the cave entrance, and
the erosional surfaces that modified the top of several
layers. It became necessary to modify the numbering
system and add Roman numerals to the Arabic numbers
previously used to label layers. In addition, the
results obtained during investigations in 1994 and 1995
helped fill the gap observed between the Holocene
layers containing Mesolithic finds and the Late
Pleistocene layers with Aurignacian objects.
Several series of layers are now visible in the exposed
stratigraphy in Cave 1 (see Figure 3).
(1) Layers 1 and 2 contain the Classical and Bronze
Age finds.
(2) Layers 3 to 6 contain a Mesolithic industry,
discussed in detail in the first report (Koumouzelis
et al., 1996).
(3) Layers IIa and IIb contain Epigravettian finds,
which do not occur in the northern part of the
trench, where a Mesolithic assemblage directly
covers the Late Aurignacian.
(4) Layer 6a, III, and III are uppermost Aurignacian
layers and contain some microlithic backed bladelets.
(5) Layers IIIb, IIIc, 7, 7a, IIIe–IIIg, and IV contain
a sequence of Upper, Middle and Early
Aurignacian assemblages.
(6) Layer V contains an Early Upper Palaeolithic
industry with arched backed blades.
Investigations in Cave 1 will be continued, as a long
Middle Palaeolithic sequence has been found below
Layer V. This sequence was identified in 1997, in a
small trial trench.
In the following pages, the preliminary results of our
investigations are presented, with particular emphasis
on the Aurignacian layers. As noted above, Cave 1
yielded a first-time discovery in Greece—a sequence of
several assemblages of this culture, sandwiched between
Epigravettian and EUP with arched backed
blades. Unfortunately, probably due to erosion, there
are two important gaps in this stratigraphy; between
the Mesolithic and the Epigravettian (corresponding to
the Final Palaeolithic occupations in Caves 4 and 7 in
Klisoura Gorge), and between the Epigravettian and
the Aurignacian (corresponding to the LGM period).
Cave Sediments
In addition to classical methods based on grain size
and morphology analysis, which have revealed no
significant change in the profile, the cave sediments
were investigated using the method of absorption
Klisoura Cave 1
Aegean Sea
Figure 1. Index map.
The Early Upper Palaeolithic in Greece 517
spectroscopy in infra-red radiation. The objective of
the examination was to determine the proportion of
autogenic (calcite [factor 1] and aragonite [factor 2]),
allogenic (quartz and pieces of flints that do not occur
in local limestones [factor 3], and clay minerals [factor
4]) and anthropogenic minerals (apatite [factor 5] and
nitrates [factor 6]). Analysis of 45 samples obtained
from the cave sediments was carried out by Todd A.
Surovell from the Department of Anthropology of the
University of Arizona in Tucson. The Fourier transform
infra-red spectroscopic (FTIR) analysis was performed
with aMiddle Prospect–IR. The proportions of
the absorption bands’ intensity have been described as
coefficients: the coefficient of factors 1 to 3 describes
the proportion of calcite crystallization to the intensity
of detritic material (size of quartz absorption band)
washed into the cave; the coefficient of factors 1 to 5
refers to the proportion of calcite crystallization in the
cave (size of the calcite absorption band) to the intensity
of human occupation of the cave; the coefficient of
factors 3+4 to 5 describes the intensity of the detritic
material washed into the cave (the sum of the size of
absorption bands of clay materials and quartz) in
relation to the intensity of human occupation (the size
of apatite absorption band). The calculated coefficient
values are presented as a diagram in Figure 4.
The coefficient of factors 1 to 3 indicates that with
the exception of layer VII, possibly layer V and the
floor of layer IV (Early Upper Palaeolithic), and of
layer 5 (Mesolithic), calcite crystallization predominates
over the washing in of allochthonous detritic
material throughout the cave’s occupation. Calcite
crystallization reaches its maximum value in layer IIIg.
This can be interpreted as an indication of relatively
humid and warm conditions during the formation of
the whole profile. The higher ratio of quartz and clay
minerals in the lower portion of sediments indicates
an increase in washing in, due to greater rainfall. The
lowest proportion of carbonate crystallization to
anthropogenic indices was recorded in the Early Upper
6 m
A 114.16
? ?
Figure 2. Map of Klisoura Cave l with location of trench A.
518 M. Koumouzelis et al.
Palaeolithic layers (VII, floor of layer IV), in the
Aurignacian levels in the floor of layer IIIe, at the
boundary of IIIe and IIIe, in the top of III and in
the Mesolithic (layer 5).
The smallest values for washed in clay minerals and
quartz in relation to the anthropogenic indices were
recorded at the boundary of layers IIIe and IIIe, in
layer IIIc, in the top of III and in layer 5. On the basis
B4 B3 B2 B1
Figure 3. Stratigraphic section of trench A (Western Wall).
Ratio carbonates
Factor: 1/3
IV lower
IV upper
IIIg lower
IIIg upper
Ratio carbonates
(anthropic) 1/5
Ratio quartz + clay minerals:apatite
3 + 4/5
4 6 2 4 6 8 2 4 6 8
Hiatus Epigravettian/Mesolithic
Hiatus Aurignacian/Epigravettian
Late Aurignacian
EUP (with arched blades)
Figure 4. Coefficients based on mineralogical characteristics of sediments (FTIR-method).
The Early Upper Palaeolithic in Greece 519
of the above data, it can be said that the most intensive
human occupation occurs at the beginning of the
Upper Palaeolithic under conditions of more intensive
slope wash (layers VII–bottom IV). Other episodes of
intensive human occupation occurred in the Middle
Aurignacian (layers IIIe, IIIe), and particularly at the
boundary Upper/Uppermost Aurignacian (III, III)
and in the Mesolithic (layer 5). The cultural hiatuses
between the Uppermost Aurignacian and the Epigravettian
(III/IIb) and between the Epigravettian and
the Mesolithic (IIa/6, 5) are not marked by a drop in
anthropogenic indices. These hiatuses are marked only
by a slight increase in calcite crystallization and a
greater importance of the sedimentation of quartz and
clay minerals in relation to apatite. Because similar
oscillations also exist during the Aurignacian, it is
likely that they correspond to sedimentation breaks or
erosional events.
Radiocarbon and Stable Isotope Analysis
Laboratory methods
Radiocarbon age determinations were carried out in
Gliwice Radiocarbon Laboratory (see Table 1 and
Figure 5) using the total carbonate and organic matter
present in samples. The 14C activity measurements
were performed with proportional counters filled with
CO2. Samples were treated with 8% HCl and evolving
CO2 was trapped. The remainder–small fragments of
organic matter in solution–was washed, dried, and
combusted to CO2. Both CO2 products were purified
and stored for at least four weeks to allow for complete
Rn-222 decay. Measurements of stable carbon and
oxygen isotope ratios (13C and 18O) were made at the
UMCS Mass Spectrometry Laboratory in Lublin. The
results are listed in Table 2.
Evaluation of radiocarbon data
In only six samples was the amount of organic fraction
sufficient to allow radiocarbon concentration measurements.
In four organic fractions the weight of
pure carbon was c. 1·5 g (see Table 1, dating results:
Gd-10201 240110 , Gd-10562 32,400600 ,
Gd-10714 >31,100 , Gd-10715 >30,800 ), and the
range of the radiocarbon dates not too wide (two
‘‘open’’ data for c. 30,000 ). The weight of pure
carbon in two samples was c. 0·3 g. Results of radiocarbon
dating of these samples have relatively
high margins of error (Gd-9688 22,5001000  and
Gd-9889 28,9003,000 ).
The conventional radiocarbon dates of carbonate
fractions listed in Table 1 are ‘‘apparent ages’’,
which obviously do not correspond to true ages.
Theoretical considerations, based on the geochemical
processes involved in the formation of secondary carbonate
(Salomons & Mook, 1986), and numerous
Table 1. Klisoura Cave 1—radiocarbon dates
Layer Hearth
Years 
on carbonate
Years 
on organic
fraction and
Mesolithic (6) Gd-10685 9150220 17·0
Interface IIa/IIb Epigravettian Gd-3872 14,280 90 17·0
Interface 6/III Gd-3791 16,130 40 22·8
III—Uppermost Aurignacian 10a Gd-3881 17,220 60 22·88
III—Uppermost Aurignacian 5 Gd-7641 19,400100 22·88
III—Uppermost Aurignacian 11 Gd-3877 21,720 90 20·0
6a—Uppermost Aurignacian Gd-7994 *23,800 400 9·82
Gd-7996 *27,200 500 10·07
IIIb—Upper Aurignacian Gd-10701 15,490410 21·88
IIIc—Upper Aurignacian Gd-12036 13,400140 22·88
7a—Upper Aurignacian 5 Gd-11193 24,220190 22·88
Gd-10258 20,060200 23·83
IIIe top—Middle Aurignacian Gd-12035 26,230140 26·40
IIIe—Middle Aurignacian 17 Gd-3878 25,770130 23·83
IIIe—Middle Aurignacian 18 Gd-3879 26,770150 22·0
IIIg—Lower Aurignacian 14a Gd-7882 28,270340 23·83
Gd-11300 26,950220 21·92 Gd-7893 31,4001000 25·0
Gd-7883 27,410290 21·92
IIIg/IIIe—Lower Aurignacian 23 Gd-7880 25,480230 22·68 Gd-7892 34,7001600 25·0
IV—Lower Aurignacian 27 Gd-10567 29,950460 22·68 Gd-10562 32,400 600 25
IV—Lower Aurignacian 31 Gd-7879 21,330150 22·68
Gd-12034 17,280190 14·66 Gd-9688 22,5001000 25
V—Early Upper Palaeolithic Gd-7878 17,430100 21·87
V—Early Upper Palaeolithic 42 Gd-12037 26,250310 18·71 Gd-10714 >31,100 25
V—Early Upper Palaeolithic 53 Gd-12027 27,100600 16·64 Gd-10715 >30,800 25
520 M. Koumouzelis et al.
experimental data (Pazdur, 1988; Pazdur et al., 1995)
lead to the conclusion that all carbonates are depleted
in radiocarbon with respect to the contemporary biosphere
at the moment of sedimentation. Because of
this, the radiocarbon age of the carbonate fraction (TC)
in the sample is older than its true age (T). The
discrepancy between TC and T is the so-called reservoir
age TR. The most frequently observed values of TR for
fresh-water carbonates range from c. 500 years to
c. 5500 years (Pazdur, 1988). The actual observed value
of TR of a certain sediment is determined by the
chemistry of the system, and within a well defined class
14C age of carbonate fractions
Stratigraphic unit
IIIe, g
IIb, c, 7a
III, 6a
6-IIa, IIb
10,000 20,000 30,000 40,000
Age in Radiocarbon Years BP
14C age of organic fractions
Figure 5. Radiocarbon dates on carbonate and organic fractions, by stratigraphic unit. See text for details of relevant units. Note: (S)=dates
from landsnails.
Table 2. Results of stable isotopes analysis in carbonate fraction of the samples from KLC1 . . ./97 series
Sample Depth [m]
[‰PDB] Layer
KLC1/S1 1·230·03 23·210·03 12·230·09 IIIe, hearth 17a
KLC1/S2 1·030·03 23·830·04 14·080·08 IIIe, hearth 14a
KLC1/S3 1·230·03 21·920·03 11·750·09 IIIg, hearth 22
KLC1/S4 1·380·03 21·990·05 11·720·07 IIIg bottom, hearth 23
KLC1/S5 1·580·03 22·680·05 14·000·09 IIIg, hearth 27
KLC1/S6 1·630·03 22·900·04 12·890·12 IV bottom, hearth 47
KLC1/S7 1·730·03 21·870·05 12·200·09 V, hearth 43
KLC1/S8 2·180·03 20·140·04 9·060·10 VIII, hearth 57
KLC1/S9 2·230·03 19·790·06 9·290·07 IX, flowstone
KLC1/S10 2·380·03 20·570·08 11·680·06 IXa, flowstone
KLC1/SA 0·330·03 17·000·04 8·510·04 IIa
KLC1/SB 0·830·03 21·880·03 11·440·06 IIIb
KLC1/SC 0·780·03 22·880·02 12·880·06 IIIc
KLC1/SD 0·930·03 26·400·03 15·990·08 IIIe top
KLC1/1(S) 0·880·03 9·820·05 0·460·09 6a, sq.D1
KLC1/2(S) 1·030·03 10·070·03 0·840·05 6a, sq. A1
KLC1/3 1·580·03 14·660·02 4·540·05 IV, hearth 31
KLC1/4 1·780·03 18·710·04 8·830·08 V, hearth 42
KLC1/5 1·830·03 16·440·03 5·840·03 V, hearth 53
(S)=Terrestrial shell.
The Early Upper Palaeolithic in Greece 521
of carbonate sediments, such as calcareous tufas or
lake sediments, there are relatively wide ranges of
variation of TR.
Information about the magnitude of reservoir age
can sometimes be obtained through comparison of
organic and carbonate fraction radiocarbon ages, if it
is assumed that the age of the organic fraction (TO)
determines the time of the carbonate deposition. In
these cases, the age of the carbonate fraction must
be older than the organic fraction age. For all radiocarbon
data from Klisoura Cave 1, the relationship
between TC and TO determined in the same samples is
the opposite: the ages of the organic fraction are older
than those of the carbonates deposited (see Table 1).
We can explain this relationship if we assume that
organic matter from different layers was cemented by
carbonates some time later, after the deposition of the
organic matter.
An analysis of the stable isotopes 13C and 18O
reveals information on the reservoir age of the carbonates
under investigation. The sedimentological studies
indicate that carbonate deposition took place in stagnant
water reservoirs, using CO2 from the decomposition
of the organic matter. The stable carbon isotope
analysis produces the expected low in carbonate 13C
values; in many cases they are lower than 22‰
versus PDB (a standard). Correlation between 13C
and the depth of the layers is not observed. The
correlation coefficient of 13C for results listed in Table
2 is r=0·06. Apart from this, we observe strong correlation
between 13C and 18O (r=0·89), which indicates
the kinetic fractionation of isotopes during sedimentation.
As the result of the above observations, we
can say that the secondary cementation processes of
organic matter were carried out relatively fast, under
similar geochemical conditions, throughout the sedimentation
history. In conclusion, we can expect a
constant value of reservoir age TR for all dated carbonate
samples, with the value of TR probably no greater
than 2000 years and probably no less than 500 years.
These values are characteristic for the sedimentation of
carbonates in stagnant water (Pazdur, 1988). This
means that the results of the radiocarbon dating of
carbonate fractions listed in Table 1 are too old by
between 500 to 2000 years. Measurement results place
the carbonate fraction radiocarbon ages TC in the
range between 29,950460  (Gd-10567) and
623030  (Gd-3790). After correcting this data for
the reservoir effect TR=2000 years, we can say that
secondary cementation processes took place between
c. 28,000 and 4000  in radiocarbon time scale, i.e.
several thousands years later than the period of organic
matter deposition.
The radiocarbon dating results for organic and
carbonate matter are verified on the basis of the 14C
dating of mollusc shells (Gd-7994, 23800400  and
Gd-7996, 27,200500 ), but with the same limitation
as for different carbonates. The reservoir effect
for this sample from Klisoura Cave 1 is difficult to
estimate. Recent AMS dating of freshwater shells from
lakes, carried out by Zhou et al. (1999), gave TR values
between c. 1000 and 1400 years, which is in agreement
with the values observed previously. After correction,
if we take 1300 years as the reservoir effect, the ages
of the above samples are given as c. 22,500  and
26,000 . However, other TR values for investigated
shells should also be taken into account.
The Archaeological Sequence
The Mesolithic and Late Palaeolithic
The Mesolithic layers (3 to 6) are characterized by the
presence of flake industries with a relatively low ratio
of geometric microliths. It is likely that Layers 5 to 3
represent the late phase of the Mesolithic and correspond
chronologically to phase VIII at Franchthi
(Perle`s, 1987).
Layers IIa and IIb, uncovered in 1995, yielded Late
Palaeolithic blade industries, representing the Epigravettian
tradition. The retouched pieces are predominantly
uni- and bilateral thick and short blades with
semi-steep retouch, often converging to a pointed tip.
These specimens co-occur with fairly short blade and
flake end-scrapers, frequently with lateral retouch. The
diagnostic forms are the microgravettes and double
backed micropoints, usually with flat ventral retouch at
the proximal and distal ends (Figures 6 and 7).
The industry of layers IIa and IIb is unquestionably
Epigravettian and may be placed chronologically during
the hiatus between phase III and phase IV at
Franchthi Cave (Perle`s, 1987). This industry has no
parallels in western Greece. It differs from both the
shouldered point industries that may have persisted
until about 13,400210 at Kastritsa Cave (Adam,
1989; Bailey et al., 1983a), as well as from the industries
with small backed blades and the microburin
technique at sites such as Klithi (Adam, 1989; Bailey
et al., 1983b, 1984, 1986). On the other hand, analogous
elements such as microgravettes and double
backed points with ventral retouch can be seen in
the Epigravettian industries on the Italian coast of the
Ionian and Adriatic Seas (Bisi et al., 1983).
The Aurignacian units
The Aurignacian occupational horizons exposed so far
consist of obviously anthropogenic deposits, including
basin-like hearths filled with ashes, shells, crushed
bones, and artifacts. The Aurignacian levels have
tentatively been sub-divided into four units:
(1) the uppermost unit comprising layer III, III and
6a, with some microlithic backed bladelets
(2) the upper unit, comprising layers IIIb, IIIc, 7a
(together with hearth 5), IIId, IIIe, and 7b;
(3) the middle unit, comprising a series of hearths
from the northern section of trench A (hearths 15
to 18) and layers IIIe and IIIf; and
522 M. Koumouzelis et al.
(4) the lower unit, comprising layer IIIg and IV and
hearths 19–29, 38–46.
The uppermost Aurignacian unit
In 1994, hearths were identified immediately below the
Epigravettian blade industries in Layers 6a and III.
Investigation of the lithic industry from these levels
reveals a significant frequency of blade products in
comparison with the Aurignacian levels below. Blades
and bladelets, the majority of which range in size from
1·5 to 2·8 cm, the largest being 4·6 cm, are narrower
and thinner than the specimens in the Epigravettian
layers. These blanks were transformed into fine backed
bladelets, often with concave blunted backs, sometimes
double-backed, occasionally with transversal retouch
in the form of microlithic rectangles. Rarely, microgravettes
and retouched pointed blades are also present
(Figure 7).
The particular character of the ‘‘transitional’’ levels
is the co-occurrence of backed implements and nosed
and carinated scrapers on flakes accompanied by
ogival, and blade end-scrapers. The number of
splintered pieces (pie`ces esquille´es) is considerable.
Two bone points, one of which is fairly short and
single-beveled, should also be mentioned. They resemble
points occurring in the Aurignacian layers, but
their cross-sections are more asymmetrical.
The co-occurrence of Aurignacian scrapers and fine
backed implements has previously been recorded in
Kephalari Cave (upper part of layer E), situated on
the western side of the Argos Bay. Unfortunately, the
layers containing these finds are not dated (Hahn,
Obviously, as always in the case of inventories
containing elements from two different technocomplexes,
the possibility must be considered that artifacts
became intermixed due to trampling or the slow rate of
Figure 6. Upper Epigravettian (layer IIa): 1, Gravette point; 2, retouched blade; 4, 5, 7, 8, pointed retouched blades; 3, 6, end-scrapers.
The Early Upper Palaeolithic in Greece 523
deposition. Even when the excavation is undertaken
extremely carefully, these potential explanations
should not be ignored. However, in this case, the
homogeneity of the ‘‘transitional phase’’ inventory is
supported by the study of the technological features
of the bladelets. Although clearly detached from
carinated cores, some of the bladelets had steep
retouch that is different from the Dufour or Krems
type bladelets characteristic of Aurignacian assemblages.
At the same time, these particular forms of
backed bladelets do not occur in the Epigravettian
layers (IIa and IIb) above. We therefore conclude that
the origin of the industry is in the local Aurignacian
In addition, viewing the assemblage of Kephalari
Cave in the context of the undisturbed hearths in
Klisoura Cave 1 suggests that the Klisoura industry
is not simply a mixture of backed bladelets with
Aurignacian flake implements, but rather a real
‘‘transitional phase’’.
The upper Aurignacian unit
The upper portion of the Aurignacian layers is an
accumulation of alternating clay-loam sediments with
a low frequency of limestone debris (e.g., IIIb), loamy
sediments with a large anthropogenic component (IIIc,
7a, 7b), and flat hearths that consist of a black ashy
lens overlying burnt clay (e.g., hearth 5).
Layer IIIc, corresponding to layer 7 in the excavations
of 1994, yielded a round stone structure,
measuring about 1·5 m in diameter, built from
water-rounded limestone cobbles, several of which
exhibited a surface weathering that indicates that
they were brought from the river bank. A pavement of
small limestone debris surrounded the structure.
Numerous fragmented bones and a small quantity of
flakes and lithic waste were found inside this feature.
Although its exact function is unknown, the content of
this structure suggests that bone marrow had been
extracted within.
Figure 7. Lower Epigravettian (layer IIb): 1, microgravette point; 2, backed blade; 4, 5, 6, retouched (and pointed) blades; 3, 6, 8, end-scrapers.
524 M. Koumouzelis et al.
The lithic industries of the upper Aurignacian unit
are fairly homogeneous. The general structure of major
technological groups is exemplified by the assemblages
of layer 7a, hearth 5 and layer 7b. Core frequencies are
0·5 to 1·7%, flakes 23·2 to 38·0%, blades and bladelets
1·3 to 1·7%, chips 30·3 to 58·2%, and small shattered
fragments are 13·2 to 25·2% (Table 3). These percentages
demonstrate that the entire production process
took place on the site. Furthermore, they show that the
most important method of production was the manufacturing
of flakes from flake cores and splintered
pieces. Only a few blades and bladelets were produced
and those were rarely retouched.
As was emphasized in the first report (Koumouzelis
et al., 1996), all the raw materials exploited were
obtained from exposures and surfaces within a radius
of 3–4 km of the site. These include radiolarites from
limestone formations and flints in silicified sandstones.
The best-represented type of radiolarite (R1) accounts
for 29·3 to 44·8% of the raw material used in the
assemblage, and the most popular flint (F2) accounts
for 31·1 to 44·4% of the total. Geological formations in
which the R6–R8 radiolarites or types of the F6–F9
flint, which occur with a frequency not exceeding 0·5%,
are found, have not been identified within the vicinity
of the site. In addition, chalcedony, which forms 5·6%
of layer 7a, is among the raw materials that cannot be
considered strictly local.
End-scrapers dominate in the Upper Aurignacian
unit. In some levels, the number of splintered pieces
equals (e.g., layer IIIb) or even exceeds (e.g., in layer
7a) that of end-scrapers. In the end-scraper group, the
predominant forms are steep scrapers on thick flakes,
or plaquettes. There are also steep scrapers with lateral
retouch and steep and carinated end-scrapers with two
or more fronts. In layers IIIc and IIId there are steep
flake scrapers that are almost discoidal (three specimens).
In addition, there are end-scrapers (or cores?) of
the rabot type, i.e., with either narrow flaking fronts or
broad, fan-like fronts (Figure 8).
Splintered pieces are particularly numerous, especially
in layers IIIb, 7a, and 7b. The pieces are small in size
(usually about 2·0 by 1·5–2·0 cm), made on plaquettes,
flakes, or cores. In hearth 5, the splintered pieces represent
the final phase of reduction of microlithic singleplatform
cores with a narrow flaking surface. This may
mean that some of the splintered pieces functioned as
cores for the manufacture of microlithic flakes. There
are also thin splintered pieces, in the shape of prisms,
with fairly regular micro-blade scars. On the other hand,
the presence of splintered pieces on flakes, with retouch
extending over a small surface, suggests that this
technique was connected to the use of flakes as chisels.
Fragments of bone points include two specimens in
layer 7, one in layer IIIb, three in layer IIIc, one
specimen in layer 7b, and one in IIIe. The points with
oval cross-sections, reaching 10 cm in length,
have pointed, or less often, single-beveled bases. A
perforated animal tooth was discovered in layer IIIb.
Almost all the layers contained marine shells, frequently
perforated. They are small in size (5 to 15 mm)
and have been identified as Umbonium, Columbella,
Cypraea, and Turitella shells. It is noteworthy that they
frequently occur near the hearths.
The middle Aurignacian unit
The middle unit of the Aurignacian sequence encompasses
a complex of hearths (numbered 15–18) in the
northern part of the excavation. The hearths have a
basin-like shape and intersect one another. The complex
of hearths is covered by layer IIIe, essentially
clayey deposits with a small component of limestone
debris. Layer IIIf is darker in colour, possibly due to a
higher content of organic material.
The complex of hearths yielded carinated scrapers
made on chunks and thick flakes, as well as several
blades with marginal retouch, side-scrapers, and
notched tools. Asymmetrical, nosed, double, and discoidal
end-scrapers, mostly on flakes with steep fronts,
occurred in the assemblage of layer IIIe. End-scrapers
on microlithic cores for bladelets are also present. Tiny
bladelets and single-platform cores for bladelets are
numerous. The bladelets, as with those described in
the former unit, have no retouch. The proportion of
splintered pieces decreases, while single examples
of burins and composite burin end-scraper specimens
The dominance of end-scrapers persists. In the endscraper
group, regular carinated items that could have
also been used for bladelet production are most numerous.
Individual subdiscoidal end-scrapers, notched
tools, side-scrapers, retouched flakes and two bec-like
tools also occur (Figure 9).
The selection of raw materials present in the middle
Aurignacian unit is similar to that in the upper unit.
Type R1 radiolarite is the dominant nodule used for
tool production.
Two fragments of bone points, oval in cross-section,
with missing bases, were found with the stone artifacts,
in addition to small marine shells.
The lower Aurignacian unit
The lower unit of the sequence consists of hearth 14a,
located in layer IIIg, hearth 19, located at the interface
of layer IIIf and IV, and hearth 23 between layers
IIIg/IIIe. As mentioned above, layer IV is a clayey,
dark brown sediment containing fine and mediumsized
limestone fragments, with strongly weathered
surfaces and rounded edges. Hearths 25–29 and 38–46
are located in layer IV. The sedimentological characteristics
suggest that warmer and wetter climatic
conditions prevailed. This assertion needs supportive
End-scrapers, dihedral burins, retouched flakes and
splintered pieces were found; carenoid or steep endscrapers,
sometimes with broad fronts, predominate.
The Early Upper Palaeolithic in Greece 525
Table 3. Major technological groups in Upper Aurignacian layers
Depth Layer Hearth
bladelets Flakes Tools
pieces Chips
Total No % No % No % No % No % No % No % No %
60–80 7a 5 0·5 16 1·7 218 23·2 6 0·6 23 2·5 546 58·2 124 13·2 — — 938
65–90 7b 9 1·7 7 1·3 197 38·0 6 1·2 19 3·7 157 30·3 121 23·3 2 0·4 518
90–105 5 12 1·3 14 1·6 284 31·7 11 1·2 17 1·9 333 37·1 226 25·2 — — 897
Table 4. Raw material structure in Upper Aurignacian layers
Layer Depth
Radiolarites Flints Others
Total R1 R2 R3 R4 R5 R6 R9 RB F1a F1b F2 F3 F4 F5 F6 F7 F8 F9 FB S Ch Q O Z Sl
7a 60–80 335 1 2 5 2 — — — 58 144 292 3 2 2 — — — 2 27 1 53 9 — — — 938
7b 65–90 151 4 1 3 — 3 2 3 54 34 229 9 — 5 2 2 2 3 5 — — 4 — — — 516
h. 5 90–105 399 6 15 1 3 1 — 1 35 62 257 9 1 14 11 6 — — 58 — 5 3 1 1 1 890
S—serpentinite; Ch—chalcedony; Q—quartz; O—obsidian; Z—metamorphic rock; Sl—silicified limestone.
526 M. Koumouzelis et al.
Table 5. Number of Identified Specimens and Minimal Numbers of Individuals (NISP/MNI) of mammals from Pleistocene layers of Klisoura Cave
Dama dama
Fallow deer
Red deer
cf. ibex
Chamois Bos/Bison
Sus scrofa
Wild boar
Equus hydruntinus
European wild ass
Cave hyena
Wild cat
(leo spelaea)
Cave lion
cf. martes
Pine marten
Hedgehog Total
II a 6/1 6
II b 1 6/1 2/1 8/1 63/5 2/1 82
III 2/1 2/1 1 1 6/1 12
III‘ 36/2 36
6a 30/2 4/1 1 1 177/10 3/2 6/3 4/1 227
III a 5/1 3/1 8
III b 172/3 1 1 47/3 5/1 1 7/6 1 235
III c 280 2/1 1 6 83 2/1 2 491
Struct. 95/9 2/1 17/5 1/1
III d 1 1
III e 248/5 1 5/1 2/1 1 1 53/7 6/3 1 2/1 1 1 7/2 5/1 334
III e 92/3 1 1 2/1 33/2 4/1 9/1 1 1 6/2 150
III f 1 1
III g 79/5 8/1 1 1 17/5 1 1 3/2 111
III g/IV 4/1 1 5
IV 6/1 1 4/2 8/1 16/2 30/2 1 2/1 1 69
V 1 1 4/1 6
Total 1011/32 2 29/8 9/4 11/3 7/6 41/12 575/45 1 13/6 1 19/5 4/3 2/1 3/3 1 31/16 14/6 1774
The Early Upper Palaeolithic in Greece 527
The specimens are made on flakes or chunks,
accompanied by increasing numbers of blades and
In general, changes throughout the Aurignacian
sequence are minor. A higher frequency of blades and
bladelets is noted in the lower part of the sequence, and
a considerable increase of the splintered pieces in the
upper part. Throughout the sequence, steep, carinated,
and nosed end-scrapers from which bladelets were
removed occur together with special cores for bladelets.
The overall frequency of bladelets is generally
low (in the upper part of the sequence it accounts for
1·3 to 1·7% of the inventory, and when calculated
without the shattered fragments they amount to 2·1%).
Bladelets with marginal or abrupt retouch, present in
the ‘‘transitional’’ layers (III), were not found in the
Aurignacian levels.
Aurignacian structured hearths
Several of the hearths uncovered in the Aurignacian
layers merit particular description and comment. These
basin-like features were discovered in the middle
and lower part of the Aurignacian sequence, within
lithostratigraphic units IIIe, IIIe, IIIg and IV. Some
formed reddish rings surrounding a filling of ashes,
charcoal, bones, and carbonates. The basin-like
hearths were sunk in the ground to a depth of 10 to
20 cm into the cave sediments. Some of the hearths (for
example, numbers 18, 22, 22a, 23, 25, 26, 29, 38 and 41)
are interstratified, frequently intersecting one another;
this indicates a low sedimentation rate.
Mineralogical analysis of the reddish clay lining the
hearths has shown that this material is not the same
as the cave sediments, but is burnt clay with a rich
mineralogical composition. Besides components such
as thermally transformed clay minerals (mainly potassium
aluminosilicate—illite), quartz and carbonate fragments,
there are also small quantities of dolomite.
Microscopic examinations of the structure of these
clays have shown that the walls of the basin-like
depressions were lined with specially prepared daub,
containing clay brought from outside, tempered bone
and plant tissue (chaff). An X-ray examination of the
thermally altered clay minerals indicates that this daub
was fired at about 600–650C. The EDX method has
established that some of the clays used for lining the
structure in the floor contain rock fragments with
aluminosilicates originating from quartzfeldspar gneiss
with a higher content of titanium, iron and manganese.
These sorts of rocks do not occur in the immediate
vicinity of the cave, but were identified at a distance of
about 1–3 km.
The possibility should not be excluded that the
hearths are not the only instances in which basin-like,
clay-lined structures were lined with daub, but that
they may have served as a prototype for ceramic
containers. It is worth mentioning that hearth 18
yielded starches typical of seed grasses found in phytoliths,
which suggests that the structures were used for
roasting grains of wild grasses.
The Early Upper Palaeolithic with arched backed blades
Below the Aurignacian, in layer V, an industry occurs
that contrasts with the Aurignacian in layer IV in terms
of technology, as it shows a much higher frequency of
blades. This can be seen in the general inventory
structure where, of the total of approximately 2800
artifacts, around 130 (4·6%) are blades and 370 flakes
(12·8%). Thus, the ratio of blades to flakes is
1:2·7—much higher even than in the Uppermost
Aurignacian units. The most numerous groups are
chips and small flakes (about 1500 specimens, i.e. 52%).
There are 132 tools (4·6%) represented by splintered
pieces which make up the largest group (41 specimens),
followed by arched backed blades (21 specimens;
Figure 12: 1–12) and an equal number of sidescrapers—
often small—(10 specimens) and retouched
blades (10 specimens). Burins and perforators are
extremely rare (one specimen of each). The presence of
microlithic shapes such as a trapeze (Figure 12: 13–15),
a microlithic truncation resembling Zonhoven (Taute
1968: 182–185: fig. 45) points (Figure 12: 14, 16) and a
Krukowski microburin is of particular interest.
In comparison with the Aurignacian layers, the
distinct quantitative ascendancy of R1 radiolarite
(58%) and the radiolarite group in general (10 types)
over flints (14 types) is characteristic. Types of radiolarites
and flints occur that are not known from
younger layers. The deposit areas of these types have
not so far been identified. Again, a tendency towards
using higher quality raw materials (including R1 radiolarite,
represented by types with better cleavage than
radiolarite categories in the Aurignacian layers) which
lend themselves more readily to blade production is
also typical. Bone artifacts do not occur, but more than
a dozen Dentalium shells were found. A flat hearth with
a larger diameter than those in the Aurignacian levels
was uncovered in layer V.
Mousterian layers
Below layer V, several Mousterian occupations were
excavated during the 1997 season. Mousterian artifacts
occurred in layers VI, VII, VIII, IX, X, and XI, with a
total thickness of c. 0·7 m. Due to the limited area
excavated in 1997, it is yet premature to provide
detailed information on the lithic assemblages of these
layers. The common reduction sequences are discoidal
and multi-directional; only in the lowermost layer is
there evidence for the use of the Levallois recurrent
reduction method, as witnessed by the scar pattern on
the flakes. These assemblages are rich in side-scrapers,
generally small in size, made on relatively thick flakes
showing analogies to the ‘‘Micromousterian’’ layers of
Asprochaliko Cave in Epirus (Papaconstantinou, 1988;
Papaconstantinou & Vassilopoulou, 1997). The overall
528 M. Koumouzelis et al.
Figure 8. Uppermost Aurignacian unit (layer III): 1–11, end-scrapers; 12–14, retouched and pointed blades; 15, 16, backed blades; 17–21,
backed bladelets; 22, 23, microretouched bladelets.
The Early Upper Palaeolithic in Greece 529
Figure 9. Upper Aurignacian: 1–10, end-scrapers; 11, denticulated blade; 12, 13, splintered pieces; 14, 15, cores; 16, perforated tooth; 17, 18,
bone points.
530 M. Koumouzelis et al.
Figure 10. Middle Aurignacian: 1–14, 16, 17, 19, end-scrapers; 15, burin; 18, burin plus end-scraper; 20, 21, pointed retouched blades; 22, bone
The Early Upper Palaeolithic in Greece 531
thickness of the Mousterian layers in Cave 1, as
indicated by drillings, surpasses 3·0 m and is therefore
thicker than the Upper Palaeolithic and Mesolithic
Plant Macroremains and Phytoliths
The upper part of the Aurignacian sequence contained
fruit and seeds that had been burned or mineralized.
The preserved, burnt macroremains are classified as
follows: Caryopsis grass, Graminae indet.; the fruit of
Polygonum sp., of the Polygonaceae family; several
seeds of Goose-foot, Chenopodium sp., members of the
Chenopodiaceae family; Spurrey, Spergula sp.; and
Melandrium sp., Silene sp. from the Caryophyllacea
family. The fruits include Echium sp. and Lithospermum
sp., family Boraginaceae, and Traxacum sp.,
family Compositae. These plants indicate the prevailing
dry and open habitats. Fruits of Lithospermum
were identified at Franchthi Cave, in the levels dated to
21–22 ka  (Perle`s, 1995).
The charcoals have not yet been identified. In the
upper part of the Aurignacian layers, calcium oxalate
phytoliths, usually derived from trees and shrubs, have
been identified in the hearth sediments. Most of these
phytoliths belong to the Fagaceae family. However, the
limits of the taxa, as defined by the phytolith identifi-
cations, are not identical to those of the detailed species
list of macroremains or pollen grains. Hence, conclusions
concerning the arboreal species that grew around
Cave 1 can be drawn only after the anthracological
analysis is completed.
The presence of silica phytoliths in the hearths
confirms that roots or stems and grass leaves were used
to start the fire. Only hearth 13 contained more inflorescence
parts, the presence of which indicates that the
fire was constructed in the spring or autumn. Taxonomic
identification using phytoliths has established
the presence of grasses belonging to the Festucoid
subfamily, thereby adding to the list of grasses that
grew around Cave 1.
The important presence of starches, characteristic of
seed grasses and suggesting the use of this family as
part of the diet are found only in hearth 18. Hence, the
results of the phytolith analysis indicate that this
hearth may have served a function different from that
of the others.
Faunal Remains
Bird remains
A total of 121 avian bones, belonging to at least five
taxa, all represented in the present day Greek avifauna
(Lambert, 1957), were found in the Aurignacian as
follows: layer III, 13 bones; layer 6a, 95 bones; layer
IIIc, five bones; layer IIIe, five bones; layer IV, two
bones; layer V, one bone. Most of the bones (72) were
remnants of Rock Partridges (Alectoris graeca).
Twenty-two other, badly damaged, fragments determined
as ‘‘Galliformes’’ probably also belonged to
Rock Partridges. Twenty fragments were attributed to
Great Bustards (Otis tarda). The other three taxa,
including an owl from the genus Asio, the Jackdaw
(Corvus monedula)—both from layer III, and the
Crow (Corvus corone)—layer 6a, were represented by
single bones. The four remaining fragments were
Although the composition of species is probably
incomplete, it indicates a mosaic habitat including
open areas (O. tarda) with rocky ground and low scrub
(A. graeca), adjoining sparse woods or at least clumps
of trees and rocks (C. monedula, C. corone).
Some of the bones of the Rock Partridges and Great
Bustards show distinct traces of burning, which, together
with the absence of signs of digestion particular
to animal predators (Andrews, 1990; Bochenski &
Tomek, 1997), allow the remains to be attributed to
human activities. This is not surprising, as Great
Bustards and Rock Partridges—relatively large and
slow-flying birds—were hunted for meat in historical
times and the latter species is eaten today. It is more
surprising that the two fragments of an owl and a
Jackdaw also show traces of burning.
Despite the preliminary nature of this report, we
note that Rock Partridge bones predominated amongst
avian finds in at least one Pleistocene site in Greece
(Reisch, 1976), and that all the taxa found in Klisoura
Cave have also been reported from other Greek sites of
similar age (Bachmayer et al., 1989; Mourer-Chauvire´,
1981; Weesie, 1988).
The 1239 gastropod shells (or their identifiable fragments)
found, belong to four or five species of terrestrial
snails and to several marine species. A few
unidentifiable fragments of bivalves, most likely representing
marine species and over a dozen fragments of
two species of Dentalium (Scaphopoda), have also been
The Holocene and Late Glacial molluscan assemblage
from layers I through IIb is relatively sparse,
although it contains fragments of several terrestrial
species. Rumina decollata, Lindholmiola cf. spectabilis
and some Zonitidae have been found, as well as the
marine species Cypraea sp. and Turitella sp., which
were not found in the older deposits.
Most of the collected specimens come from the
Aurignacian layers and 919 shells belong to the
landsnail Helix figulina, which was not found in
the Holocene layers. The other terrestrial species—
Lindholmiola cf. Spectabilis, found in the upper part of
layer III, is represented by a single specimen.
Helix figulina is most numerous (572 specimens) in
layer 6a. This species has been found mostly in SE
Europe, living on grassy slopes with strong insolation,
up to 1000 m a.s.l. The shells of adult specimens make
532 M. Koumouzelis et al.
up a considerably minor fraction. Such a great accumulation
of H. figulina shells may suggest that the
snails were eaten for food (as is still the case today in
some regions of Greece), however, the dominance of
juvenile specimens, less useful for food, is remarkable.
Moreover, the majority of H. figulina shells, in
particular the aperture, is well preserved.
Marine shells of relatively small size, 5–15 mm,
occasionally up to 20 mm, are particularly numerous in
layer IV. In this layer, apart from the 23 specimens of
H. figulina, 242 shells, belonging to 9 genera of marine
species were found. Unfortunately, their poor preservation
precludes specific assignment. The following
genera are represented: Columbella, Cerithium, Nassarius,
Cyclope, Clanculus, Calliostoma, Cancellaria,
Naticarius, and Neritina.
It is noteworthy that almost all the marine specimens
have an irregular hole on the body whorl, near the edge
of the aperture. In several specimens, there is also a
very regular hole of smaller size, probably made by a
predatory marine snail of genus Natica. The presence
of marine shells in prehistoric archaeological deposits
is often connected with their use as adornments or
amulets. In this light, the holes suggest that the shells
were pierced so that they could be strung into
necklaces or bracelets.
Layer V contains over a dozen fragments of two
species of Dentalium and some fragments of H. figulina
Mammalian fauna
In total, 1774 complete and partial bones, belonging to
18 species of mammal, were recovered during the
1994–1997 excavations. The majority of the bones and
teeth belong to herbivores, including hares. Carnivores,
other rodents, and insectivores are represented
rarely. Most of the identified bones belong to fallow
deer (56%) and hare (Lepus europaeus 32%), and were
found in nearly every layer. The majority of the
remains of many of the species were discovered in layer
6a (dated to about 24,500 ) and layers IIIb to IIIg
(Upper Aurignacian). In these layers, the remains of
fallow deer and hare clearly predominate.
Layer IIIc produced the largest number of fallow
deer bones and teeth (NISP=95) (Table 1), many of
which, along with those of hare (NISP=17) were
uncovered in the rounded structure described above.
The most frequently occurring bones were the fragments
of mandibles, phalanxes, metacarpals, metatarsals,
isolated teeth, carpal and tarsal bones. Limb
bones were represented mainly by proximal or distal
epiphyses. The breakage of phalanxes and limb bone
shafts suggests the process of marrow extraction. Ribs
and vertebrae were found only sporadically.
The Klisoura herbivore bones show none of the
gnawing marks typical of carnivores. Instead, 25% of
the identifiable bones bear traces of burning. Some
bones, which were still covered by flesh when they were
burned, have brown patches, others were calcined. The
white colour of the bones suggests that they were
subjected to intense heat at the temperature of a
campfire, about 600C (Lyman, 1994). The surfaces of
the bones show no cut marks.
The traces of burning, the presence of a complete but
not intact skeleton of a fallow deer, and the type of
damage on the bones all suggest that the remains are
those of animals that had been hunted. In addition, it is
possible that squirrels were also hunted for their skins.
A small number of bone tools, including a polished
antler fragment (layer III) and a perforator made from
the right ulna of a fallow deer (layer IIIe) were found.
Franchthi cave is the nearest Upper Palaeolithic site
to Klisoura, situated approximately 30 km to the
southeast. No fallow deer remains have been discovered
in the Late Gravettian layers (c. 22 ka ) at this
site (Payne, 1975). However, in 1995, Hubbard (Payne,
pers. comm.) recorded the presence of fallow deer
remains in the Franchthi basal (interstadial) deposits.
The apparent absence of this species at Franchthi
might be attributable to the very small number of
mammal remains, which includes only 49 bones in
faunal phase A (Payne, 1975). It may also, however,
reflect environmental changes on the Peloponnese
about 20 ka . It is unfortunate that a hiatus in the
stratigraphical record at Klisoura Cave between 22·5
and 26 ka  makes it impossible to confirm the
absence of fallow deer on the Peloponnese during this
period. It should be noted that the remains of fallow
deer have been recorded (Bailey et al., 1984) at
Asprochaliko in Epirus in the Upper Palaeolithic
layers, which correspond to layers 6a-IIIe at Klisoura.
The presence of fallow deer at Klisoura could be
explained by the milder climatic conditions enjoyed by
a coastal region, in addition to a wider variety of plants
and shrubs than can be found near Franchthi. Fallow
deer tend to inhabit plains and slightly rugged or hilly
areas where grassy clearings and undergrowth give way
to deciduous woods. A more detailed reconstruction of
the immediate environment of Klisoura Cave 1 could
be carried out based on the microvertebrates. Unfortunately,
with the exception of squirrels, no rodent
remains were found in the water-sieved samples from
the excavation.
All the species found at the Klisoura cave site have
previously been recorded in the Upper Pleistocene of
the Balkans (Bachmayer et al., 1989; Kowalski, 1982;
Malez, 1986; Melentis, 1965, 1966; Symeonidis,
Bachmayer & Zapfe, 1980; Tsoukala, 1991).
Cave 1 Industries in Regional Context
The sequence in Cave 1 at Klisoura Gorge ends with
Mesolithic assemblages that show analogies to those of
Franchthi Cave. Unfortunately, the single date from
the carbonates in the lowest Mesolithic layer (6):
9150220, precludes us from establishing a more
The Early Upper Palaeolithic in Greece 533
precise chronology. Unquestionably, an erosional
phase separates the Mesolithic from the Epigravettian
in layers IIa–IIb. Occupations filling this gap were
found in neighbouring caves 4 and 7.
The Epigravettian layers correspond to the post-
LGM period, but the date of 14,28090 obtained on
the carbonates should be treated as the minimum age
of the Epigravettian. The true temporal range of this
Epigravettian corresponds to the stratigraphical gap
between lithic phases III and IV in Franchthi Cave, the
period dated from 21,4801270 to 12,540180 years
 (Perle`s, 1987).
As the top of the Aurignacian sequence yielded the
dates obtained from snails (Gd-7994 and Gd-7996)
which, after correcting for the reservoir effect, correspond
to the period between c. 22·5 and 26·0 ka , it
may be possible to assume that the second stratigraphical
gap corresponds to the LGM in this region (22·5–
16–18 ka ).
The dating of the Aurignacian sequence is based on
land snails for the top of the sequence (Gd-7994 and
Gd-7996), and on organic fractions for the lower
portion of the sequence (Gd-7892, Gd-7893 and Gd-
10342), and places its range from 22·5 to 32·4 ka 
(Table 1).
Runnels (1995: 714) stated that ‘‘the Aurignacian is
extremely rare in Greece’’. Aurignacian carinated endscrapers
were recorded at around or before 30 ka  in
the lower layers of Franchthi Cave, phase lithique I
(Perle`s, 1987). Unfortunately, information on the
Aurignacian from Kephalari Cave is less precise,
though a short report by J. Hahn (1984) suggests that
Aurignacian end-scrapers in that cave occur together
with backed implements. Even less is known about the
site of Arvenitsa, near Nafplion, which has been
quoted by Perle`s (1995) as being Aurignacian. However,
the finds displayed in the Museum at Nafplion
cast doubt on the accuracy of such an attribution.
The best published open-air site with Aurignacian
finds is Elaiochori 2, located near Patras in the western
Peloponnese, known from the excavations by Darlas
(1989). Unfortunately, as it is a surface site, it neither
assures the homogeneity of the assemblage nor
indicates its date. Typologically, the artifacts from
Elaiochori 2 resemble the Aurignacian from Klisoura
Cave 1. End-scrapers dominate (27·2%) the inventory
of retouched elements, followed by denticulated and
notched pieces (19·1%). Among the former are nosed
and atypical nucle´iforme specimens on flakes (Darlas,
1989, fig. 7: 7–15), as well as carinated-nosed items
(Darlas, 1989, fig. 8: 1–6). Moreover, core scrapers of
the rabot type are present (Darlas, 1989, fig. 8: 8, 9).
Unfortunately, the Aurignacian finds are mixed with
Mousterian artifacts (Darlas, 1989, fig. 10) as well as a
few backed pieces (Darlas, 1989, fig. 9: 11–12).
In addition, a few thick scrapers were retrieved from
the red sand layers in the region of Amalias, Kastron,
and Retunia in the western Peloponnese (Leroi-
Gourhan, 1964). Mousterian artifacts also occur in the
same levels. However, at Amalias and Retuni, in the
boundary zone between the red sands and the overlying
grey sands, carinated end-scrapers occur together
with backed implements. The backed pieces have been
attributed to the Mesolithic with no sound geological
basis (Chavaillon et al., 1967). In light of the above
review, we may surmize that Klisoura Cave 1 is the first
multi-layer Aurignacian sequence, radiometrically
dated, to be discovered in Greece.
Placing the Klisoura Cave 1 Aurignacian in the
wider context of the Balkan Upper Palaeolithic is
difficult, as the region reveals a geographic complexity
in the distribution of the various types of assemblage.
Industries with backed pieces developed as early as
30 to 26 ka in much of this region. In the north, they
are affiliated with typical Gravettian, similar to the
industries of the Danube basin, whereas in northwest
Greece they are simple backed bladelet industries.
Thus, it seems that the Aurignacian vanished from
most of the Balkans between 30 to 28 ka . The latest
Aurignacian level (perhaps with some intrusions of
backed elements) was discovered in the well-explored
sequence of Temnata Cave in Bulgaria (Ginter &
Kozlowski, 1992). It dates to the period 31 to 29 ka .
In Bacho Kiro Cave, the Aurignacian assemblages
were excavated from level 6a/7 (Kozlowski, 1982),
dated to 29,150950 (Ly-1102) and followed by levels
4b and 4a. Level 4b is attributed to the same, warmer
episode (Krinides II), whereas level 4a is placed at
the next cold episode, i.e. after about 27/25 ka . A
characteristic feature of the youngest Aurignacian
assemblages at Bacho Kiro Cave (allowing for the
very small series of artifacts), is a decrease in the
frequency of blades and blade tools and a preponderance
of simple end-scrapers with lateral retouch and
high scrapers on flakes and chunks. The tendencies
observed in Bacho Kiro Cave, although on a small
sample, exhibit a change towards an increase in the
frequencies of end-scrapers and a shift in the flaking
The only Aurignacian assemblages in the Balkans
dated later than 25 ka  and possibly contemporaneous
with those of Klisoura Cave 1, were uncovered
in Sandalia Cave II near Pula in Croatia (Malez, 1978:
258–260). Layer e at this site is particularly interesting,
as its date of 23,540180 (GrN-5013) fits very well
between the date of 21,740450 (GrN-4877) for the
Gravettian layer c and a date of 25,340170 (GrN-
5015) for the Aurignacian layer f. Malez (1978, pl.
26:8–13) published only a small selection of finds from
layer e, including short flake end-scrapers with lateral
retouch, carinated and nosed end-scrapers on chunks,
and a few side-scrapers. When these artifacts are
compared with the finds from layer f, the inference may
be drawn that blade tools decrease in number,
especially Aurignacian retouched blades. Taking into
consideration, however, that there is a lack of
availability of all the necessary information, it is
difficult to determine the tendencies in the Aurignacian
534 M. Koumouzelis et al.
technological and morphological changes in
Sandalia II.
The beginning of the Aurignacian sequence in
Klisoura Cave 1 is contemporaneous with the classical
phase of the Balkan Aurignacian, represented by the
industries with Mladec type split-base points. In Bacho
Kiro and Temnata caves, long sequences of the
Early Aurignacian occur below the classical Balkan
Aurignacian, which so far have no parallels in Greece.
Much of the Italian Aurignacian differs from the
Aurignacian in Greece described here. In cave
sequences, the layers dated at from 36 to 32 ka revealed
the so-called Proto-Aurignacian, with its characteristic
large proportion of bladelets with marginal retouches
of Dufour or Krems type. This proportion could
sometimes be as much as 50% of the tool inventory.
Such bladelets were not only the product of shaping
carinated end-scrapers; they were accompanied by few
end-scrapers and burins but relatively numerous sidescrapers
and denticulates. In the Castelcivita Cave
(Gambassini, 1997) the Proto-Aurignacian shows
internal variability: lower level 8 (31/32 ka) contained
slender Dufour type bladelets whereas in upper level 6
(also about 31 ka ) they were replaced by Muralovka
type ‘‘micropoints’’, the proportion of which is also
very high (44%). Only after the Proto-Aurignacian
with micro-retouched bladelets does the typical
Aurignacian appear—the earliest on the Ligurian
coast (Riparo Mochi layer F—c. 32 ka), and later in
southern Italy (e.g. Cala Cave layers 13–10 dated at
29·8–26·8 ka —Benini, Boscato & Gambassini,
1997). It is the industries from southern Italy that the
Aurignacian from Cave 1 at Klisoura resembles most
closely. These southern Italian industries contained
only a few micro-retouched bladelets (0·3 to 0·8%), but
the proportion of end-scrapers and splintered pieces
Figure 11. Lower Aurignacian: 1–8, 10–12, end-scrapers; 9, core.
The Early Upper Palaeolithic in Greece 535
(up to 40% combined) were high. The similarity of the
general quantitative structure is further emphasized by
the similarity of tool morphology, especially of endscrapers
(e.g. from the Cala Cave—Benini, Boscata &
Gambassini, 1997, fig. 8).
The sequence in Klisoura Cave 1, in conjunction with
the sequences from Franchthi and Kephalari Caves
enable us to obtain a more complete picture of cultural
evolution in the Late Pleistocene and Early Holocene
of the eastern Peloponnese. The picture would be more
complete if the data on the chronology and the industries
from Kephalari Cave were more precise. The
sequences in Cave 1 at Klisoura (layers 3–6) and at
Franchthi (Lithic phases VII–IX) end with Mesolithic
layers. Below these, the Late Glacial Epigravettian
occurs at Franchthi (Lithic phases IV–VI) and at
Kephalari (layers C1–C3, D1) corresponding to a
hiatus in Cave 1 at Klisoura. At Franchthi, the hiatus
between lithic phases III and IV (i.e. between 21 and
12 ka) is filled by the Epigravettian layers in Cave 1
(layers IIa, IIb) and perhaps the Epigravettian layers in
Kephalari Cave (D2, D3). On the other hand, in Cave
Figure 12. EUP with arched backed blades: 1–12, arched backed blades; 13–16, microlithic truncations (13–15 double).
536 M. Koumouzelis et al.
1 there are no layers that correspond to the LGM and
the period directly preceding the LGM. Such layers
are recorded in Franchthi Cave (Lithic phases II
and III—22–21 ka ) and possibly also in Kephalari
Cave (layer D4), where the Mediterranean Gravettian
is present. The later Interpleniglacial and the transition
to the LGM (32·4–22·5 ka) are best represented
in Cave 1, where a sequence of Aurignacian levels
occurs; our knowledge of this period is much poorer
at Franchthi (Lithic phase I is the only possible
Aurignacian occupational episode) and at Kephalari
(where layers E, F1, F2 contain mixed elements of both
the Aurignacian and the EUP arched backed blades
industries). Finally, below the Aurignacian sequence at
Cave 1 there is a well-marked level with an EUP arched
backed blades industry (layer V) and a several metre
thick series of unexcavated Middle Palaeolithic layers.
The Middle Palaeolithic is also present at Kephalari
(layer G) but it is not present in Franchthi Cave.
In comparison with the caves at Franchthi and
Kephalari, Cave 1 displays a different composition of
fauna dominated by fallow deer and hare, but with a
smaller proportion of Equus hydruntinus and ibex. At
Franchthi, on the other hand, the layers that directly
precede the LGM demonstrate an increase in the
frequency of horse and cervids, while the Late Glacial
layers are dominated by bovids, caprids and fewer
cervids and horses. In Kephalari Cave, hare and birds
constitute a fairly large proportion throughout the
whole sequence, whereas Equus hydruntinus, wild boar
and caprids are dominant in the Gravettian and Epigravettian
layers. The differences we have described
could be the effect of the particular paleogeographical
conditions in every region. It is more likely however,
that they are caused by the fact that sediments corresponding
to the LGM are absent in Cave 1. At
Franchthi, on the other hand, there are no data on
faunal remains from the end of the Interpleniglacial,
while at Kephalari the layers with the EUP industries
do not contain fauna. In Cave 1, the upper portion of
the Aurignacian sequence contains an accumulation
of shells, mainly Helix figulina, which at Franchthi
is abundant only in lithic phase V (about 11 ka ;
Perle`s, 1995), and at Kephalari in the Late Glacial
(layer C3).
A special feature of the Aurignacian sequence in
Cave 1 is the presence of plant macroremains in the
Upper Aurignacian. Among these are several species
that could have been used for food (for example
Chenopodium, Polygonum) and/or for production of
dyes (Lithospermum). In addition, in the middle portion
of the Aurignacian sequence, some hearths could
have served for roasting grains of certain Graminae, as
they contained phytoliths of starches of seed grasses.
The basin-like, clay-lined hearths are the oldest
example of clay preparation and firing; the occurrence
of such hearths in the Lower and Middle Aurignacian
(32·4–28 ka ) places their chronology before
the central European Gravettian with its ceramic
technology, dated at about 28 to 26 ka  (Vandiver
et al., 1990).
The most important result of the excavation was the
discovery of Early Upper Palaeolithic layer V, with an
arched backed blade industry and microliths sandwiched
between the Aurignacian (layer IV) and the
Mousterian (layer VI). This industry shows some analogies
to the Italian Uluzzian, mostly in the morphology
of arched backed blades, as well as in the relative
frequency of splintered pieces, which in some Uluzzian
sites constitute more than half of the retouched pieces
(e.g., Castelcivita` layers rsa and rpi; Cavallo EII–I; La
Fabricca 2; Gambassini, 1997). The differences are
particularly expressed in the reduction sequences and
the role of microliths in the Klisoura assemblage.
Noteworthy is the presence of Dentalium shells used
as personal adornments in Klisoura layer V and the
dominant blade production in this Early Upper
Palaeolithic unit. The latter played a minor role in
subsequent Aurignacian assemblages. If we take into
account only the open-ended dates from layer V,
they could be considered as similar to the 34–33 Ka
 established for the Uluzzian in Castelcivita`
(Gambassini, 1997) and Cavallo caves (Palma di
Cesnola, 1993). However, the new AMS measurement
for layer V (H. Valladas, pers. comm.) of 40·2 ka years
, if supported by the TL dates of burnt flint, would
indicate that this Early Upper Palaeolithic arched
backed blade industry is much older than all of
the dated Uluzzian sites in Italy, and will be contemporary
with many Mousterian occupations in Italy,
Montenegro (Crvena Stijena layer XII; Basler, 1975),
Bulgaria (Samuilitsa, unit 5; Sirakov, 1983), and
Thessaly (Theopetra 3·6–4·2 m; Kyparissi-Apostolika,
1999; Peneios layer IV; Runnels & Van Andel, 1993,
etc.). At the same time, layer V would be roughly
synchronous with the ‘‘Pre-Aurignacian Bachokirian’’
(Bacho-Kiro layer 11/IV–I; Temnata layer 4C–A) in
the Bulgarian caves (Kozlowski, 1999). Such an early
chronological position for the Early Upper Palaeolithic
from Klisoura raises the possibility of the spread of
the ‘‘Upper Palaeolithic package’’ independent of the
Aurignacian, through the northern Mediterranean
We express gratitude to the Polish Committee for
Scientific Research for the support of grant 0914, and
to the American Schools of Prehistoric Research at the
Peabody Museum, Harvard University for financial
support for the, 1996 season. We would like to thank
Prof. K Kowalski who examined the squirrel material,
Prof. B. Rzebik-Kowalska for examining insectivora
remains and Prof. A. Forsten who looked at the equid
material. Particular thanks must go to Mrs Barbara
Kazior, and Dr Krzysztof Sobczyk of the Institute of
Archaeology, Jagellonian University, Krako´w, Poland
The Early Upper Palaeolithic in Greece 537
and Dr. Malgorzata Kaczanowska of the Archaeological
Museum, Krako´w-Nowa Huta, Poland, who participated
in the excavations and worked on the analysis
of the finds. In addition, we would like to thank
three anonymous reviewers for their comments. We
would like to thank J. Dickinson for editorial
assistance. Finally, all shortcomings of this paper are
the responsibility of the authors.
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