The Early-Middle Neolithic pottery from north Attica

The Neolithic ceramic vessels produced and used by the small, early farming communities dispersed in the hinterland of northern Attica at the end of the 7th and the beginning of the 6th millennium BC, share common morphological features which testify to a shared, local ceramic tradition out of which stem even more local variations. As demonstrated by our study, the common characteristics relate to the range of shapes: primarily limited to thin-walled, plain curved bowls which very rarely expand to collared profiles; a pale-colored surface that is polished to achieve both a matt effect and a soapy to the touch, and, either rainbow coloring on some of the vessels or contrasting black-to-red coloring between the two sides of some pots.

The pottery found belongs to household contexts. Nevertheless, it attests to competent potters who made attempts to experiment, to innovate, and to demonstrate or showcase their skills to enable them to differentiate within, or between, communities. The color variations can be perceived as a kind of decoration, since other decorative elements such as incisions, or the application of knobs and lug handles, are very scarce. The assemblage shows comparative affinities with pots circulating at the same period along the coastal settlements of eastern Attica and the southern low lying areas of that same region. In the context of the southern Greek mainland, the pottery tradition of Attica does not exhibit very eloquent and distinct morphological features, such as painted patterns –only very sparsely represented by only a couple of fragments- though this may perhaps be due to taphonomic reasons. The chronological span of the settlements of northern Attica ends in the Middle Neolithic, and only in one site it extends into the beginning of the Late Neolithic.


Rescue excavations conducted by the Ephorates of Antiquities of Athens and East Attica, under the direction of D. Palaiologos and M. Stefanopoulou.