A Revised Chronological and Palaeoenvironmental Framework for the Kastritsa Rockshelter, Northwest Greece
Galanidou, N., Tzedakis, P. C., Lawson, I. T., Frogley, M. R., Antiquity
Kastritsa, excavated by E. Higgs in 1966 and 1967, is a small cave situated in the side of a limestone hill on the shore of Lake Pamvotis, in the Ioannina basin, northwest Greece (FIGURE 1) (Higgs et al. 1967). Archaeological finds included lithic and organic artefacts exhibiting variability through time and a diverse faunal assemblage dominated by deer (Bailey et al. 1983). Sturdy et al. (1997: 603-4) have shown the site's advantageous location in a seasonally varying biotope whose resources would have been more abundant during summer. Amongst the Upper Palaeolithic sites of southeast Europe, Kastritsa stands out because of its abundance of habitation features (various hearth types, post-holes and chipping floors) and refittable lithics (Higgs 1968; Galanidou 1997b; 1999; in press). From a palaeoclimatic point of view, Kastritsa's notoriety lies in the presence of a series of beach deposits in the lower part of the sequence, thought to represent higher lake levels during the `Last Glacial Maximum' (LGM) (Higgs et al. 1967: 21; Bailey et al. 1983: 29). The evidence for high LGM lake levels has been in conflict with palaeoecological results suggesting increased aridity during this interval (Bottema 1974) and much discussion has permeated the literature in order to account for the apparent paradox (e.g. Bailey et al. 1983: 29; Bailey et al. 1986: 105; King & Bailey 1985: 280-81; Prentice et al. 1992; Tzedakis 1994: 420; Frogley 1997: 161-4). Here we present new AMS radiocarbon determinations which provide a different chronological framework for the sequence, and reconsider the local palaeoenvironmental conditions through new pollen and ostracod evidence from an adjacent sediment core from Lake Pamvotis.
[Figure 1 ILLUSTRATION OMITTED]
Kastritsa's stratigraphy is the result of a complex sedimentation history consisting of events of human occupation and deposition, rockfalls, fluctuating lake levels, and other sedimentation episodes. During excavations, 32 layers were identified and numbered Y1-Y32 (TABLE 1). These units were subsequently grouped into five strata, 1, 3, 5, 7 and 9 to `allow pooling of samples for analysis' (Bailey et al. 1983: 25-6). Stratigraphically, the sequence was divided into three major depositional units (Bailey et al. 1983: 25-6). The upper unit (layers Y1-Y15) contained terrestrial deposits, rich in finds and habitation features. Numerous episodes of rockfalls have left their mark upon this upper series. The finds recovered were most densely congregated at the present-day entrance to the cave. At the lower part of this unit a beach deposit was recorded in Y14a (Bailey et al. 1983: 28; Galanidou 1997a: figure 6.21). The middle unit (layers Y16-Y26) was characterized mainly by beach deposits consisting of water-worn pebbles and fine grained lake sediments. Artefacts and hearths were present in this part of the sequence, the number of artefacts dropping gradually with increasing depth. The lowest unit (layers Y27-Y32) lay in certain areas upon bedrock and consisted of waterlogged deposits having localized lenses of pebbles and freshwater mollusc shells. It was devoid of any anthropogenic material, possibly representing a period during which Kastritsa was under water. In what follows, our reference to the sequence will relate to layers Y1-Y26, in which human presence has been attested.
TABLE 1. Stratigraphical scheme of the Kastritsa sequence and associated radiocarbon dates.
units strata layer humus/topsoil Y1 Y2 Y3 Y4 silty clays, Y5 stone fragments, Y6 extensive 1 Y7 anthropogenic 3 Y11 deposits Y12 Y13 beach 5 Y14 Y15 beach Y16 beach Y17 beach 7 Y18 Y19 beaches/ Y20 beach anthropogenic 2 Y21 deposits Y22 beach Y23 Y24 beach Y25 Y26 9 Y27 Y28 lake deposits 3 Y29 Y30 Y31 Y32 layer old dates new dates Y1 Y2 13,400 [+ or -] 210 Y3 Y4 Y5 Y6 Y7 Y11 Y12 20,000 [+ or -] 80 Y13 21,350 [+ or -] 80 Y14 Y15 19,900 [+ or -] 370 Y16 Y17 Y18 Y19 Y20 20,800 [+ or -] 810 Y21 21,800 [+ or -] 470/20,200 [+ or -] 480 Y22 Y23 Y24 23,880 [+ or -] 100 Y25 Y26 Y27 Y28 Y29 Y30 Y31 Y32
The 1960s radiocarbon determinations indicated the site's overall temporal succession (Higgs et al. …