Monday, August 31, 2015

Late Palaeolithic and Early Mesolithic finds from the Pindus Mountains of western Macedonia (Greece)

Paolo Biagi, Renato Nisbet & Nikos Efstratiou

August 2015


The discovery of Late Palaeolithic and Early Mesolithic tools along watersheds that surround Samarina, and the slope of Mount Vasilitsa, improves our knowledge on the seasonal peopling of the high altitudes of the Pindus Mountains. They show that at the end of the Pleistocene, and the very beginning of the Holocene, groups of late hunter-gatherers moved across the favourable hunting landscapes of the alpine pastures above 1500m.

In contrast with the late Neanderthal bands that systematically exploited the abundant Samarina chert resources (Efstratiou et al. 2011), these hunter-gatherers carried with them good-quality flint nodules to produce their weapons. The presence of end scrapers and other tools, mainly bladelets, might indicate that they also performed other activities connected with hunting. Although the location of the allochthonous flint sources used for making the chipped stone tools recovered around Samarina is at present unknown, good-quality flint outcrops are known in the lowlands surrounding Lakes Ioannina and Kastorià. Future research will explore the exploitation of the above resources between the end of the Pleistocene and the Early Holocene in order to explain the provenance, and the movements of the Late Pleistocene and Early Holocene hunting communities of the Pindus Mountains.

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