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Neolithic Stavroupoli

Stavroupoli is a multi-phase flat-extended site located on a natural low hill in the modern town of Thessaloniki. Ongoing excavations revealed deposits dated to the Middle (Stavroupoli Ia) and early Late Neolithic (Stavroupoli I), which covered the period between 5890 and 5531 cal. BC, according to radiocarbon dates. Pottery indicates, however, that the settlement was inhabited during the whole period of the early Late Neolithic (5400-5000 cal. BC). The last habitation phase (Stavroupoli II) dates to the later phase of the Late Neolithic (5000-4500 cal. BC) or to the Final Neolithic (4500-3300 cal. BC), according to pottery typology. The total extent of the site reaches approximately 11.2 ha, but it appears it was never inhabited across its total extent at the same time. The samples analysed in this study come from the Stavroupoli I phase. In this phase the settlement was surrounded by a ditch and occupied an area of at least 8 ha. The houses had a rectangular plan and plastered floors, and ovens and hearths were located both inside and outside the houses, implying cooking in private and in public.

A total of 37 cooking pots from late Middle Neolithic and the early Late Neolithic Stavroupoli (ca. 5600–5000 cal. BC) presented charred food crusts adhered to the inner walls of the vessels, which have been sampled for microbotanical analyses. The samples analysed in this study come from two different areas of the settlement, 50 m distant from one another: deposits located at Gorgopotamou Street and deposits located at Koromila Street. In each area, remains of at least two houses were found. 

First results

A pilot microbotanical study of the charred food crust from 17 cooking pots showed that the food represented by burnt remains included domestic wheat(s) and lentils, as well as weedy Setaria sp. and other wild plants. The presence of Setaria weeds suggests high soil fertility and disturbed growing conditions. These results further indicate that the inhabitants of different areas of the settlement had differential access to food resources (more vs. less valued food), which might be related to a) different types of meals being prepared in separated areas of the site, or b) different preferences or economic status of its inhabitants expressed through culinary practices. At present, we lack enough evidence to favour one hypothesis over the others. Future research at Stavroupoli will specifically target this issue through integrated microbotanical and lipid analyses from cooking vessels from different areas of the site.

To find out more

Grammenos DB, Kotsos S (eds) (2002) Rescue excavations at the Neolithic Site of Stavroupoli Thessaloniki. Archaeological Institute of Northern Greece, Thessaloniki

Grammenos DB, Kotsos S (eds) (2004) Rescue excavations at the Neolithic Site of Stavroupoli Thessaloniki. Part II (1998–2003). Archaeological Institute of Northern Greece, Thessaloniki

Kotsos S (2014) Settlement and housing during the 6th millennium BC in western Thessaloniki and the adjacent Langadas province. In Stefani E et al. (eds) Proceedings, International Conference “1912–2012: a Century of Research in Prehistoric Macedonia”. Archaeological Museum of Thessaloniki, Thessaloniki, pp 315–326

Kotsos S, Urem-Kotsou D (2006) Filling in the Neolithic landscape of central Macedonia, Greece. In Tasic N, Grozdanov C (eds) Homage to Milutin Garasanin. Serbian Academy of Science and Arts, Belgrade, pp 193–207

García-Granero JJ et al. (2017) Cooking plant foods in the northern Aegean: Microbotanical evidence from Neolithic Stavroupoli (Thessaloniki, Greece). Quat Int. doi: 10.1016/j.quaint.2017.04.007

Lymperaki M et al. (2016) Household scales: what cooking pots can tell us about households in the Late Neolithic Stavroupoli (Northern Greece). Open Archaeol 2, 328–345


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Starch grains and phytoliths from food crust samples from Stavroupoli.



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