The interior of the cave
|Location||3 km (2 mi) south of Kalambaka|
|Altitude||300 m (984 ft)|
|Area||500 m2 (5,382 sq ft)|
|Excavation dates||1987–2002, 2005–2008|
Theopetra Cave is located in Thessaly, Greece, on the north-east side of a limestone rock formation, 3 km (2 mi) south of Kalambaka. The site has become increasingly important as human presence is attributed to all periods of the Middle and Upper Paleolithic, the Mesolithic, Neolithic and beyond, bridging the Pleistocene with the Holocene.
The formation of the limestone rock has been dated to the Upper Cretaceous period, 135–65 million years BP. The excavations began in 1987 under the direction of Ν. Kyparissi-Apostolika, which were meant to give some answers to the mystery of Paleolithic Thessaly. Radiocarbon evidence shows for human presence at least 50,000 years ago.
Theopetra Cave contains one of the longest archaeological sequences in Greece, comprising Middle and Upper Palaeolithic as well as Mesolithic and Neolithic cultural remains. The records have shown important palaeoenvironmental data based on sedimentary features and botanical remains.
In 2016, researchers successfully extracted the DNA from the tibia of two individuals buried in Theopetra Cave. Both individuals were found in a Mesolithic burial context and separately dated to 7288–6771 BCE and 7605–7529 BCE. Both individuals were found to belong to mtDNA Haplogroup K1c.
- Karkanas, Panagiotis; White, Dustin; Lane, Christine S.; Stringer, Chris; Davies, William; Cullen, Victoria L.; Smith, Victoria C.; Ntinou, Maria; Tsartsidou, Georgia; Kyparissi-Apostolika, Nina (June 2015). "Tephra correlations and climatic events between the MIS6/5 transition and the beginning of MIS3 in Theopetra Cave, central Greece" (PDF). Quaternary Science Reviews. 118: 170–181. doi:10.1016/j.quascirev.2014.05.027.
- Yorgos Facorellis; Nina Kyparissi-Apostolika; Yannis Maniatis (2001). "The cave of Theopetra, Kalambaka: Radiocarbon evidence for 50,000 years of human presence". Radiocarbon. 43 (2B): 1029–1048. Retrieved 11 January 2017.
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- Tsartsidou, Georgia; Karkanas, Panagiotis; Marshall, Gilbert; Kyparissi-Apostolika, Nina (13 March 2014). "Palaeoenvironmental Reconstruction and Flora Exploitation at the Palaeolithic Cave of Theopetra, Central Greece: The evidence from phytolith analysis" (PDF). Archaeological and Anthropological Sciences. 7 (2): 169–185. doi:10.1007/s12520-014-0183-6.
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