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The Neolithic Pottery Sequence in Southern Greece

William W. Phelps


The Peloponnese forms an approximate cultural province. The precise delimitation of a cultural province, even for a restricted archaeological period, is not always easy to define. Over a time-span of some three thousand years, which witnessed probably considerable climatic and ecological changes, and certainly the development of a great diversity of pottery types, it is not to be expected that cultural boundaries should remain constant. In the earliest stages of the Neolithic period it could be argued onthe ceramic evidence that all the Greek mainland, from Macedonia to Laconia, constituted one province, while during what is generally known as the Middle Neolithic period, the same area could be subdivided into five or six zones. With this qualification, however, the pottery of the Peloponnese is on the whole sufficiently distinguished from that of its northern neighbours by style and technique to justify treating the region as a single cultural unit. This is more clearly apparent in some phases than in others. It was decided originally to take the whole Neolithic Age as the chronological framework for the study, princAally because it was thought that a unified study of the development, changes and relationshAs of all the Neolithic pottery from one region might make a useful contribution to the elucidation of Greek and Aegean prehistory. It is, too, a moment in man’s history that has a certain stadial unity of its own, at least in this part of the world. It starts with his first efforts to control the environment through agriculture and animal husbandry, and ends with the rapid expansion of trade and intercourse that accompanied the development of metallurgical techniques in the Early Bronze Age.