Neolithic Greece - the Late Stone Age
Quatr.us answers questions
Upgrade /Log in
Options /Log out
Print
About
Africa
Egypt
Mesopotamia
Early Europe
Greece
Rome
China
India
Central Asia
Medieval
Islamic Empire
Native Americans
S./Central America
American History
Biology
Chemistry
Geology
Math
Physics
Weather
Food
Judaism
Christianity
Home

Neolithic Greece

Map
Sheep

By around 7000 BC there started to be more people in Greece. It became harder and harder to get all the food you needed just by gathering and hunting. So people began to farm. Farming was more work (and not as much fun as picking wild berries and nuts), and the food you got wasn't as good for you and was pretty boring, but you could feed more people on less land. People also began to herd sheep and goats and pigs.

By 5800 BC, there were small villages in Greece. At Nea Nikomedia, people lived in small houses made of sticks and mud (wattle and daub). They had started to use pottery (clay pots). Probably they learned how to make pots from people from West Asia. But as soon as people settled down, they also began to have to defend their villages and fields against invaders. Nea Nikomedia was surrounded by a wooden fence and two ditches. At a nearby village, Makriyalos, people threw dead people into their ditches and just left them there unburied - maybe because of a war.

Sesklo ware
Sesklo pottery

By around 5000 BC people began having stone foundations for their houses, and stone walls around their villages, with complicated gates to make it hard to fight your way in. They probably fought with spears, maces, slings, and bows and arrows. Their fanciest pottery (dishes, pitchers, cups) was decorated with red and white patterns, and some of it was carried to other villages and sold there. The best dishes and cups came from a village called Sesklo.

Other villages imitated the Sesklo cups, but not as well. Probably around this time the Greek villages got big enough to choose a "big man" or "headman" to organize the village and settle arguments, and lead the men to war.

Around 4000 BC a big fire destroyed the village of Sesklo. The fire could have been an accident - when people use fires to cook on inside, thatched houses do catch fire. Or it might have been a war.

Dimini

Late Neolithic villages like the one at Dimini may have had more inequality than before, and more wars. They had one big house in the center of the village, and also had several stone walls around it with tricky gates. Around the same time, Nea Nikomedia and Sesklo also got one big house in the center of the village. Probably people were beginning to rule these villages by inheriting power from their parents, as chiefs.

This is the kind of pottery people used in Dimini in the last part of the Stone Age, around 3000 BC.

Learn by doing: growing an herb garden
More about the Early Bronze Age in Greece

Bibliography and further reading about the Greek Stone Age:

The Stone Age: What Life Was Like for the Earliest Humans, by Philip Steele (2000). Includes instructions for projects.

Eyewitness: Early Humans, by Nick Merriman (2000). Ages 9-12, with great pictures.

The Archaeology of Greece: An Introduction, by William Biers (revised edition 1996)Biers writes very clearly and has a lot of good pictures.

The Early Neolithic in Greece : The First Farming Communities in Europe (Cambridge World Archaeology), by Catherine Perlès and Norman Yoffee(Editor) (2001).

More about the Early Bronze Age
Ancient Greece
Quatr.us home


Professor Carr

Karen Eva Carr, PhD.
Assoc. Professor Emerita, History
Portland State University

Professor Carr holds a B.A. with high honors from Cornell University in classics and archaeology, and her M.A. and PhD. from the University of Michigan in Classical Art and Archaeology. She has excavated in Scotland, Cyprus, Greece, Israel, and Tunisia, and she has been teaching history to university students for a very long time.

Professor Carr's PSU page

Help support Quatr.us!

Quatr.us (formerly "History for Kids") is entirely supported by your generous donations and by our sponsors. Most donors give about $10. Can you give $10 today to keep this site running? Or give $50 to sponsor a page?

Now that the weather's nice, try some of these outdoor activities! How about bicycle polo, or archery for a Medieval Islam day? Or kite flying or making a compass for a day in Medieval China? How about making a shaduf for a day in Ancient Egypt? Holding an Ancient Greek Olympic Games or a medieval European tournament? Building a Native American wickiup?