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Rainbow Ware, ca. 6500 BC

Stone Age Greek pottery: Rainbow Ware, ca. 6500 BC

Rainbow ware

Around the time that people in Greece settled down in houses and villages, and began planting their own crops and herding animals, they also began to produce pottery. They learned how to make pottery from their neighbors in West Asia.  This Neolithic period was around 6000 BC. The first pottery was plain, but very soon people began to decorate it. We call the earliest kind of decorated pottery in Greece Rainbow Ware, because of the way the colors blend into each other, though it is really only black and red.

Sesklo cup in cream with a pattern of red squares

A vase from Neolithic Sesklo, in Greece (5000 BC)

Sesklo ware and knockoffs

In the Middle Neolithic, people began producing another kind of pottery with red and white decoration in geometric patterns, which is known as Sesklo ware. Sesklo ware got to be very well known around Greece, so much that other towns began to make cheap knockoffs of it for people who couldn’t afford the real thing.

Dimini Ware: cream on a dark background

Dimini Ware

Dimini ware

Then in the Late Neolithic, in southern Greece, people painted black patterns on a cream background. But the newcomers, the Dimini people, made a new kind of pottery, black and cream-colored, often in spirals.

Late Neolithic cup from southern Greece

Late Neolithic cup from southern Greece

(They may have been influenced by West Asian styles.)

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Learn by doing: make a pot out of clay
More about Early Bronze Age Greek pottery

Bibliography and further reading about Greek Stone Age pottery:

The Archaeology of Greece: An Introduction, by William R. Biers (1996)

Greek Art and Archaeology (3rd Edition), by John G. Pedley (2002).

The Early Neolithic in Greece : The First Farming Communities in Europe, by Catherine Perlès, Norman Yoffee (Editor) (2001). This is a book for specialists.

More about Early Bronze Age Greek pottery
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