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Late Paleolithic and Mesolithic Coastlines of Greece and the Aegean

Tjeerd H. van Andel and Judith C. Shackleton
Journal of Field Archaeology
Vol. 9, No. 4 (Winter, 1982), pp. 445-454
Published by: Taylor & Francis, Ltd.
DOI: 10.2307/529681
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/529681
Page Count: 10
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Late Paleolithic and Mesolithic Coastlines of Greece and the Aegean
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Abstract

Reconstructions of the late Quaternary paleogeography of Greece and the Aegean show that at 18,000 years B.P. the northern Aegean and northern Adriatic formed large coastal plains traversed by many rivers. Broad plains also existed off the coast of Elis and the present Gulf of Korinth, and along the Anatolian coast. Many islands, such as Kerkira, Euboea, and the northern Sporadhes, were connected with the mainland, and most of the Cycladic islands were joined together in a Cycladic semi-peninsula. The post-glacial rise of sea level beginning ca. 15,000 B.P. restored around 9,000 B.P. the coastal geography to approximately its present configuration. The late Quaternary paleogeography and its subsequent changes have many archeological implications that are worth serious consideration. The well-watered northern coastal plains may have furnished subsistence for a plains population quite independent of the resources of the northern mountain regions, and they constituted easy access to the Greek peninsula from the NE and NW. Loss of coastal plain land during the post-glacial rise of sea level drastically changed the resource base in many areas. The island of Melos, known source of obsidian for toolmaking since at least 10,000 B.P., may have been discovered considerably earlier when access to the island was largely over land.

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