SCY019 : Politiko Kelaïdhoni

Lithics Scatter

Grid reference: 520800/3876350
Cadastral plan: XXX/57
Aerial photo: 1993, Run 13, No. 52
Survey unit: 101
SIA: None

SCY019: Surface Stability, Lithics Count and Bladelet Count

Located on a spur 750 m northeast of Politiko Phournia (SCY200), the site of Politiko Kelaïdhoni has an excellent northerly view over the Tamassos Plain. The bedrock surrounding the site consists of interbedded chalky limestone, chalk and limestone. In contrast to Politiko Ayios Mnason (SIA 6) just 900 m to the east, these beds have been tilted to the west and the resistant and protective limestone cap has been eroded away, leaving the underlying chalks exposed to heavy weathering and erosion. A dense concentration of lithics and a lighter scatter of pottery lie on an isolated stable surface on top of one of these eroded ridges.

A 3-m grid was placed over the densest area of artefact concentration, with outlying squares to test the fall-off in material. Within each square the total number of lithics and potsherds was counted, and a sample of 306 chipped stones and 20 sherds was collected. This strategy provided quantity and distribution data within the site. While the field team worked on the grid, the geomorphologist mapped the area, so that artefact density could be measured against surface stability (see figure).

The density peak in the centre is very clear, with the bladelets even more closely clustered in the central southern area of the concentration. The eastern edge shows a clearly defined fall-off with the deterioration in surface stability; this side of the small ridge has the most abrupt break in slope (marked by the boundary between the unstable and eroding areas). The same phenomenon holds in the west, where the fall-off is particularly abrupt. There are some local exceptions, however, particularly in the north and south. The four squares along the north of the main concentration have no lithics, in spite of being in the most stable part of the site. A similar situation applies in the south. In both cases there is a light scatter beyond the main concentration, but these are mostly on eroding or eroded areas, and some have probably been washed down from above. Geomorphological scrutiny, then, suggests that this was originally a small, dense location of activity, rather than a remnant of a much wider activity area that happens to have survived erosion.

Analysis of the sample collection of lithics revealed that 70% of the chipped stone material consisted of stone implements and utilised flakes, while only 30% was manufacturing debris. Based on these data, the site does not appear to be a primary knapping location, but some sort of task-specific workplace, where stone implements may have been both used and rejuvenated. This would explain the very small percentage of cores and hammer stones that were found, and the tertiary character of almost all the debitage. To gain a better understanding of the site's function, it is necessary to look more closely at the types of stone implements.

Notches, denticulates, scrapers and borers comprised some of the least numerous categories of implements, and backed or truncated blades are rare. The majority of scrapers consisted of end and notched scrapers; there were fewer circular and angular scrapers. Blades typically exhibited some degree of sharpening and/or cutting fractures on one or other lateral margin. The utilised flakes made up the second most common implement type.

The most numerous implements at Kelaïdhoni consisted of small blade segments and bladelets, which comprised one third of all tools and nearly one quarter of the site’s entire chipped stone sample. Bladelets are here defined by the following attributes: they are twice as long as wide; they have two parallel sides; and they range in length from 2.0-4.5 cm. It is worth noting that bladelets were rarely found in the project area, and no other site yielded a similar assemblage. Approximately 20% of them showed polish (or sickle sheen) along a single lateral use margin. This information suggests that one of the tasks conducted at or near the site was the reaping of crops. Since these blades are probably too small to be used individually, several bladelets may have been inserted into a larger sickle tool, such as a long bone or an antler. Examples of such sickles are well known from the prehistoric Levant.

The technical and typological traits of the material suggest an early Pre-Pottery Neolithic date for the chipped stone assemblage. Only 20 pottery sherds and four pieces of groundstone fragments accompanied the chipped stone scatter. In spite of one Protohistoric Bronze Age, one Late Roman and one Medieval sherd, the majority of the pottery dated to the Archaic to Classical periods (750-312 BC). The contrast in date between the Pre-Pottery Neolithic chipped stone assemblage and the pottery indicates distinct eras of occupation at the site. Chalcolithic Phournia is less than 1 km away, and the area of Tamassos saw settlement from as early as the Prehistoric Bronze Age. The plain to the north and east was well cultivated in the Archaic and Classical periods, and presumably also supported the prehistoric settlements of the Tamassos area. Thus it is conceivable that the people who occupied Kelaïdhoni contributed, in some measure, to the early subsistence and economy of the area.