||This article relies largely or entirely upon a single source. (November 2008)|
Σπήλαιον Φράγχθι (Greek)
The entrance to the Franchthi Cave seen from Koilada
|Alternate name||Frankhthi cave|
|Location||Koilada, Argolis, Greece|
|Periods||Paleolithic to Neolithic|
The cave was occupied from the Paleolithic circa 20,000 BCE (and possibly earlier) through the Mesolithic and Neolithic periods, being abandoned about 3000 BCE (Middle Neolithic). It is one of the very few settlements in the world that shows continuous human occupation for more than 20,000 years.
It also contains some of the earliest evidence for agriculture in Greece. The first inhabitants were probably hunter gatherers, but from around 11,000 BCE almonds, pistachios, bitter vetch, and lentils all appear at the same time, while wild oats and wild barley appear from 10,500 BCE, while from 7,300 BCE peas and wild pears also appear. None appear to be native to the region, while two are certainly from Asia Minor. This would seem to indicate that the farming of legumes and nuts preceded that of grain in Greece, if not in Asia Minor at least. This would make this area the oldest known agricultural site in Greece.
Obsidian items from the cave have been traced to the island of Melos 80 miles away by sea, which indicates long-distance sea travel. Around 6000 BC, evidence of domesticated animals and plants (emmer and einkorn wheat) appears in the archaeological record at the cave.
- Clements, Christina. "Franchthi Cave". EMuseum. Minnesota State University, Mankato. Retrieved 2009-08-10. [link dead as of June 2011]
- T. Cullen, Mesolithic mortuary ritual at Franchthi Cave, Greece
- Farrand, William R. 1999. Depositional History of Franchthi Cave, Fascicle 12: "Sediments, stratigraphy, and chronology". Bloomington, Indiana: Indiana University Press.
- Prehistoric Archaeology of the Aegean. Lesson 1: The Southern Greek Palaeolithic, Mesolithic, and Neolithic Sequence at Franchthi. Retrieved 2009-08-10.