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Prehistory and Earliest History of Greece

The prehistory and earliest history of Greece starts at the stone age and goes through to the cooper-stone age and then the bronze age.

Earliest History of Greece

** The image above shows finds from Sesklo, Neolithic Period, circa 5300 B.C.
By Zde (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons

The Stone Age

This incredible journey through time can be traced back to the Stone Age (6000-3000 B.C.). The presence of humans in Greece 700,000 years ago has been confirmed with the discovery of a Neanderthal skull, which was found in a cave on the Halkidiki peninsula of Macedonia. Other artifacts discovered including tools and bones have also uncovered in the mountains of Pindos.

Not much is actually known about the Stone Age in Greece, though large areas of Greece were inhabited during the Paleolithic and Mesolithic times. Migration from Asia Minor is the most likely explanation for the Neolithic was of living. The first area of Greece to be settled in was Thessaly. The settlers grew crops such as wheat and barley, and also bred farm animals such as goats and sheep. Pots, vases and statuettes of clay were also produced of the Earth Goddess (The Mother Earth) whom they worshipped.

By around 3000 B.C., small villages were starting to appear in the form of mud-brick houses with streets and squares. A large structure shaped like a palace,which belonged to the tribal leader, were where the villages were centered around. The settlements of Dimini and Sesklo, which were inhabited from 4000 to 1200 B.C., near the city of Volos in Thessaly are today the most complete Neolithic settlements in Greece. Other well known Neolithis settlements are Lerna in Argolis and Knossos in Crete.

The Copper-Stone Age

The stone age was followed by a period in which the use of traditional stone was slowly being replaced by copper, which became more widely used. This period is known as The Copper-Stone Age, or The Chalcolithicum. This is derived from the Greek work Chalkos, which means copper.

The Bronze Age

Following on from the Copper-Stone Age was the Bronze Age ( 2800 – 1500 BC ). Bronze is comprised of 90% copper and 10% tin. The processing of bronze was introduced at around 3000 BC by Indo-European migrants. Bronze was greatly superier than copper has it was much harder and made better tools and weapons than its predecessor. The copper was likely imported from Asia Minor and Cyprus, but the origins of tin are not known. Following the introduction of bronze, three great civilizations began in Greece; The Cycladic, Minoan and Mycenaean.

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