The Neolithic site of Makriyalos, northern Greece: A reconstruction of the social and economic structure of the settlement through a comparative study of the finds

Maria Pappa, Paul Halstead, Kostas Kotsakis, Amy Bogaard, Rebecca Fraser, Valasia Isaakidou, Ingrid Mainland, Dimitra Mylona, Katerina Skourtopoulou, Sevi Triantaphyllou, Christina Tsoraki, Duska Urem-Kotsou, Soultana M. Valamoti, Rena Veropoulidou

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


The excavation of the Neolithic settlement at Makriyalos, northern Greece, revealed the layout of two separate habitation phases of the Late Neolithic period and provided the largest artefact assemblage of this period unearthed so far. The great variety and the large number of finds allowed a remarkable collaboration of specialists in an attempt to reconstruct of the economic and social dimensions of this early society. Excavation data suggest a contrast between communal and individual/domestic scales of activity during both settlement phases. Consumption practices, as reconstructed on the basis of the artefacts and ecofacts recovered, may reveal a similar picture. Analytical methods borrowed from various fields (dental microwear analysis and isotope analysis of dental and skeletal remains, chemical analysis of organic residues in pot- tery and microwear analysis of tool industries) produce a mass of detailed information that allows a rarely achieved level of insight into Neolithic subsistence practices. Studies of both indirect (archaeobotanical, faunal) and direct (human skeletal) evidence for subsistence indicate that diet at Makriyalos was not very different from that at other Neolithic sites. The picture that is emerging from Makriyalos from the combined analysis of spatial/contextual, artefactual and ecofactual evidence is that everyday life was structured around a restricted group, perhaps a family, but that spatial organisation and portable material culture also placed great emphasis on collective solidarity. Such solidarity was perhaps reinforced by the sharing of food and labour on a daily basis and certainly by occasional large gatherings, social events of great importance, at which the community and perhaps the regional population shared food and drink. The provisional nature of the conclusions drawn here must be emphasised, partly because some aspects of the post-excava- tion work have not yet been finished but mainly because the integration of the various specialist studies is still incomplete. Keywords
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationDiet, Economy and Society in the Ancient Greek World
Subtitle of host publicationProceedings of the International Conference Held at the Netherlands Institute at Athens on 22-24 March 2010
Number of pages12
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2013


  • Makriyalos
  • Neolithic
  • communality
  • seasonality
  • spatial organisation


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