Abstract: Into The Mani: Multidisciplinary Archaeological Research in Diros Bay, Mani Peninsula, Southern Greece

Lecturer: William Parkinson

Situated on the western shore of the Mani Peninsula on the southern Greek mainland is a massive cave that several thousand years ago was the site of a substantial early agricultural village. Alepotrypa Cave (Fox Hole Cave) is nearly half a kilometer deep, contains a cathedral-like main chamber, various smaller chambers, and a large freshwater lake. The cave also preserves several meters of archaeological deposits that date to the Neolithic Period (7,500-5,000 years ago) suggesting that it was home to some of the earliest farmers in Europe. People also came from distant places throughout the Aegean to bury their dead inside the cave. The remains of pottery, animals, and humans located on the surface of the cave floor suggest that the cave entrance collapsed at the beginning of the Bronze Age and that some individuals were trapped inside. The cave, which is a veritable Neolithic Pompeii, was discovered in 1958, but it is not widely known outside of Greece.

 

Dr. Parkinson is working with Greek and American colleagues to develop a multi-disciplinary research project that will place the cave into a regional context by reconstructing the ancient landscape and documenting the archaeological sites that surround it.

 

Websites on lecture topic:

http://fieldmuseum.org/explore/diros

http://fieldmuseum.org/explore/krap

http://expeditions.fieldmuseum.org/neolithic-archaeology

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