Beneath the famous remains of the House of the Tiles and the other Bronze Age remains found at Lerna, a large amount of Neolithic pottery was found during 1950s excavations by the American School of Classical Studies. Although the mixing of material makes it impossible to establish an independent ceramic sequence for the site, the author is able to differentiate Early and Middle Neolithic types using her knowledge of material from the well-stratified Franchthi Cave, across the Argolic Gulf. By placing the ceramic material in archaeological context, the author makes a number of important new claims about Lerna’s earliest history. While the date of the first settlement is still unclear, the Middle Neolithic was clearly a time of intensive occupation at Lerna, when the digging of at least one long ditch across the site suggests some internal planning. Sherds of the first Late Neolithic phase are totally absent, suggesting that Lerna had been abandoned by the end of Middle Neolithic but substantial quantities of Final Neolithic pottery, found largely in pits and two graves, suggest ritual reuse in this period. A final chapter (in both English and Modern Greek) summarizes the results of the study, including the changing patterns of burial practices over the course of the Neolithic. (A CD-ROM with 86 color images of the pottery is included.)
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About the Author: Karen D. Vitelli is Professor Emerita of Anthropology and of Classical Archaeology at Indiana University.
“The publication of this manuscript on the Neolithic material from Lerna will be of outstanding scientific importance for Neolithic research in Greece. Much to the benefit of the reader, the author has succeeded in making a vividly clear and coherent account out of a highly complex situation” Mats Johnson, Göteborgs Universitet.