Paleolithic Greece - the first people in Greece
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Paleolithic Greece

Franchthi Cave
Outside Franchthi Cave

May 2016 - The first people came to Greece not long after leaving Africa, about 55,000 BC. They probably came along the coast of the Eastern Mediterranean, through what is now Israel and Lebanon. They almost certainly knew how to paddle small boats along the coast. When they got to Greece, these people lived, like their ancestors at Blombos Cave in Africa. from gathering wild plants and by fishing and hunting wild animals with traps and with bows and arrows. They may have traded obsidian to West Asia, Central Asia, or Northern Europe.

inside a big cave
Inside Franchthi Cave

Paleolithic people in Greece used stone, wood, plant fibers, and bone to make fishhooks, spears, knives, and scrapers. They did not build houses, but lived mainly in caves along the coastline. One example of a cave where people lived in the Old Stone Age is Franchthi Cave. The people living in Franchthi Cave hunted deer and rabbits, caught fish, and gathered mussels and clams, wild grain for bread or porridge, wild peas and beans, fruit, and nuts.

Learn by Doing - go out and gather some wild berries or mussels
More about the Mesolithic period 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 Mesolithic Greece
Ancient Greece
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Karen Carr is Associate Professor Emerita, Department of History, Portland State University. She holds a doctorate in Classical Art and Archaeology from the University of Michigan. Follow her on Instagram or Twitter, or buy her book, Vandals to Visigoths.
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