The Neolithic and Bronze Age pottery from the Cave of Lakes at the highlands of the Peloponnese

The pottery from the Cave of Lakes, excavated by A. Sampson, has suggested that this site situated at about 800 m. altitude at the highlands of Helmos Mt. has hosted intensive human occupation during the Late Neolithic and the Early and Middle Bronze Ages. Among the three phases, the Neolithic horizon is denser, longer and far more extended inside and outside of the cave’s wide opening as well as on the slopes on either sides.

Most Neolithic vases from the cave have polished surface and deep open and broad-mouthed shape, and seem to be associated with domestic functions related to food preparation, consumption and storage.

Painted wares are absent, but there is a big variety of incised patterns on open bowls and plastic-roped impressions on jars. Particularly the incised pots exhibit a rich local variety of patterns which are characteristically thin and shallow and usually consist of hatched triangles and rectangles in rows or metopes. In the Bronze Age, we distinguish the Middle Helladic incised wares and the sparse Minyean cups and kylikes, found among a thick deposit of secondary burials.

The location of the cave at such high altitude suggests that the site was evidently occupied in the summer as a seasonal camp of transhumants who, in winter, would move to the lowlands of the Peloponnese or even further north. The Cave of Lakes is one of the very few greek caves which demonstrate long occupation in prehistory and are located at such high altitude.


Excavation by the Ephorate of Paleoanthropology-Speleology of the Ministry of Culture (1992-1995) under the direction of Prof. A. Sampson.

Read more


A. Sampson & S. Katsarou, Excavation at the cave of Lakes, Kastria, Kalavryta, in the year 1992. In: Man and Spelaeoenvironment. Proceedings of the First National Congress on Spelaeology (Athens, November 26-29, 1992), pp. 63-68. Athens. Ministry of Culture.


S. Katsarou & A. Sampson, Phases I-III. The Neolithic pottery. In: A. Sampson, The Cave of Lakes at Kastria of Kalavryta, Athens, pp. 77-273. Society of Peloponnesian Studies 7.


S. Katsarou, Phases IV-VII. The Bronze Age pottery. In: A. Sampson, The Cave of Lakes at Kastria of Kalavryta, Athens, pp. 275-319. Society of Peloponnesian Studies 7.


S. Katsarou & A. Sampson, Excavation at the cave of Lakes, Annals of Archaeology at Athens 22 (publ. 1995), pp. 161-170.