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Title: From archaeological sediments to human practice : a comparative geoarchaeological study of open areas in the Neolithic of northern Greece
Author: Koromila, Georgia
ISNI:       0000 0004 7655 4915
Awarding Body: University of Reading
Current Institution: University of Reading
Date of Award: 2016
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Neolithic research in south-east Europe has focused on buildings and the household as fundamental social institution. Open areas in Neolithic sites remain largely unexplored and perceived as homogeneous, despite ethnographic studies highlighting outdoor space as multifunctional and fundamental in conditioning social practice. Furthermore, distinct coexisting site morphologies in the Greek/Balkan Neolithic, tells and flat/extended sites, are argued to represent different space-use strategies linked to different social organisation and ideology. The specific strategies that created these settlement types are still poorly understood, as many traces of activity, ecology, and continuity or change in practices are only detectable at the microscale. This project examines spatial and temporal configurations of activities, roles, and relationships in intra-settlement open areas, in order to assess their significance as social arenas within Neolithic communities; it also investigates site-formation processes in order to elucidate differences in settlement morphology. A high-resolution geoarchaeological approach, integrating micromorphology, phytolith, and elemental analyses, was applied on open-area stratigraphic sequences at three Greek Neolithic sites that represent different types and enable comparative analysis: Avgi Kastoria, Koutroulou Magoula Phthiotida, and Paliambela Kolindros. The results highlight open areas as complex and multifaceted places of activity and accumulation. Identified residues indicate a wide range of activities: open-air burning is attested by in-situ fuel deposits, and also suggested by ubiquitous redeposited fuel remains; animal-related activities and interaction are indicated by distinct penning deposits in the tell example, and recurring redistributed dung; constructed surfaces, craft, and food-consumption deposits were also identified; discard practices are suggested by abundant accumulations of multi-origin residues, indicating complex pathways of material redistribution. Cases of context-specific deposit occurrence suggest spatial segregation of activities, despite the lack of physical boundaries. Complex histories of continuity and change in all sites include short­term alternating or successive episodes and longer-term trends and transformations. Evidence for differences between site types lies in depositional and post-depositional processes of homogenisation: episodic deposits are better preserved in the tell site, suggesting more rapid accretion and intensive, concentrated activity.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available