The Neolithic and Early Bronze Age settlement of Koukounaries, Paros

Since 1998 I have been studying the pre-Mycenaean phases of the hill of Koukounaries in Paros, excavated by Prof. D. Schilardi. Koukounaries is a high and naturally fortified hill at the bay of Naousa, close to the well known touristic swimming beach of Kolymbithres. Although the Mycenaean occupants have leveled out the older building phases to establish their own structures, enough Neolithic and Early Bronze Age evidence has been preserved both within the disturbed underlying deposits, as well as in those plateaus of the hill which have been left unoccupied by later building activity.

The Neolithic populations have established perishable structures supported by post and rubble walls in the 5th and 4th millennia BC. They used dark polished ceramic vessels, some of which have preserved traces of red crust put on surface in a post-firing stage. Most pots are open bowls, deep cups and small jars and bear typical Neolithic incised and roped ornaments, as well as a big variety of lugs.

Most part of the deposits dated from the end of the Neolithic and the transition to the Early Bronze Age. This is a period already known in Paros from the earliest Early Cycladic cemetery of Plastiras, excavated long before Koukounaries. The chronological correlation between the two puts particular interest on Koukounaries and asks for an update of the cemetery; the fact that recent evidence on the Neolithic-to-EBA transition has come to light in other Cycladic islands and in Attica gives a broader dimension to the project.

After a short hiatus, Bronze Age populations of the Early Cycladic II have built on the top of the hill a small two-storey building with storage rooms and underground rainwater drainage. Fragments of marble figurines were found within the disturbed deposits underneath the Mycenaean mansion in the adjacent area of the hilltop.

As only few early prehistoric settlements have been excavated in the Cyclades compared to the cemeteries, Koukounaries domestic context is an invaluable source of information for the everyday life of those people as for subsistence strategies, relation with environment, even ideology.

Research was funded by the White-Levy Program and the Mediterranean Archaeological Trust.


Excavation by the Athens Archaeological Society, under the direction of Prof. D. Schilardi.

Read more


S. Katsarou & D. U. Schilardi, Some thoughts on the Early Cycladic domestic space, arising from observations on Koukounaries in Paros. In: N. Brodie, G. Doole, G. Gavalas & C. Renfrew (ed.), Horizon. Α Colloquium on the Prehistory of the Cyclades (Cambridge, March 25-27, 2004), pp. 61-70. Cambridge. The McDonald Institute for Archaeological Research.


S. Katsarou-Τzeveleki & D. U. Schilardi, The Neolithic occupation at Koukounaries in Paros. In: A. Sampson (ed.), Τhe Prehistory of the Aegean Basin. Palaeolithic, Mesolithic, Neolithic, pp. 194-198. Athens. Editions Atrapos.


S. Katsarou & D. U. Schilardi, Emerging Neolithic and Early Cycladic settlements in Paros: Koukounaries and Sklavouna, BSA 99, pp. 23-48.