Wednesday, May 28, 2014


Adamantios Sampson
University of the Aegean, Greece

            The site Wadi Hamarash 1 is located at an altitude of -50m (31.016783 Latid.; 35.542582 Long.) on an extended plateau north-west of the junction of the al-Hasa and Hamarash-Suweif wadis. The Neolithic settlement extends over a circular flat area of 80m in diameter and dominates an arid plateau. The site is isolated and inaccessible, about a three-hour walk from the village of Safi, down at the Dead Sea level.
          Since 2007 a team of the University of the Aegean has participated in a survey in the Safi area (Politis et al 2009) and located several prehistoric sites along the river Wadi al- Hasa. In 2008 the University of the Aegean started systematic archaeological excavations at Wadi Hamarash 1 which continued in 2009, 2010 and 2011 (Sampson 2011, 2011a; Sampson in print). So far, five areas with an extent of 1600 sq. meters have been investigated. Thick walls that belonged to two-storey buildings and thin walls, separating rooms within buildings have been exposed. More than 100 loci, rectangular or trapezoid in shape, with rounded corners were excavated in this area. Some sites were excavated to the virgin soil and were revealed to contain two floors. Smaller rooms were connected to larger rooms via narrow openings. This architecture closely resembles the ones found at es-Sifiya (Mahasneh 2004) and Ghweir I (Simmons and Najjar 2000, 2001) in southern Jordan.
            Apart from the one thousand ground stone tools found, the recovered stone vases and flint artefacts (blades, pointed tools and cores) were also in the hundreds. The numerous millstones indicate extensive food preparation and cultivation of cereals presumably on the plateau, with its easy access to fresh water from the wadi.
    Four charcoal samples collected from these levels gave the following radiocarbon dates: 8660±45 (7709-7598 BC), 8650±60 (7720-7590 BC), 8710±50 (7760-7600 BC) and 8425±45 BP (7566-7477 BC) that correspond to the early stages of  PPNB given the presence of arrowheads of the Helwan type (Gopher 1994). The site seems contemporary with the settlements Ghweir I (Simmons and Najjar 2000, 2001) and es-Sifiya (Mahasneh 2004). 
     Recent researches show that the phase of Wadi Hamarash (PPNB), es-Sifiya, and Ghweir is the one that succeeds the PPNA in southern Jordan (Sajej 2004).
 In 2010 an exceptional rectangular building was excavated measuring internally 10.60X9.50m. It constitutes an independent building that does not relate with the dense layout of other buildings and does not follow the orientation pattern of the rest of the buildings.The masonry of the external side is exceptional and comprises slab stones combined with great consistency. In the southern part, the foundation wall’s in-depth is 1.65m, while in the northern part, the foundation was revealed at a smaller depth. Even though it looks as a rectangle or roughly square in shape, there is no absolute symmetry in dimensions. Hundreds of stones fallen from the walls were found both in the interior and the exterior area, indicating that the walls were of considerable height. Two main doors with stone thresholds exist in the building, in the western side and in the SW corner, 0.95m and 0.90m wide respectively. Three narrow openings are at small distance from each other at the western side.
 The construction of the floor was meticulous and included three phases. Initially there was a substratum comprising big stones and slabs. Then, small gravel mixed with earth was placed, and, finally, this was covered with white plaster. Unfortunately, the plaster was preserved in few areas, whereas the layer of gravel to a greater extent. In very few cases the plaster on the walls was preserved. What is original in the building is that on the walls had been created 9 niches for placement of posts that differ in size. It is characteristic that the niches are larger inside to house the wooden posts more efficiently.
   The difference in the size of posts is conclusive that in the area pre-existed a wooden construction with posts which in a later phase the residents of settlement attended to incorporate into the walls of the building. The walls could be as high as the roof, but they could also be lower for better ventilation. The asymmetrical position of the posts is indicative of a gabled roof constructed with beams and grasses. The providence for the drainage of rainwater shows that the roof was not horizontal. It is likely that posts also existed that stood out of the walls. A line of posts would be in the centre of the room, but because of the destruction of flooring no traces were found. Because of the big dimensions of the room a horizontal roof would present problems. By examining the ground plan of the building we realize that this was not precisely rectangular and probably this was dictated by the pre-existing wooden construction. The three narrow openings at the western side seem unnecessary, even though they could be purposeful since they are placed on the main face of the building that gives on to an open square with an extent of 200 sq.m. Next to its central entrance an extraordinary platform was found. A small niche in this platform probably served as a base for an ortholith found in situ. 
Characteristic is that in the building itself minimal discoveries were made, such as a few grinders and lithics, and not at floor level. In general, the floor of the building has suffered big destruction after its abandonment due to its small depth. In several spots, pits with large stones exist.
 The only structure in the building was a rectangular hearth measuring 1.00X0.80m, in square 24, that is asymmetrical compared to the walls. Near the hearth, (square 33) a circular pit surrounded by small stones was revealed at floor level, containing a flint nodule with roughly spherical shape (diam. 0.43 and height 0.35m). One side of the stone featured a flat surface with circular dents with diam. 0.17m, and below it, two similar incised symbols. Each symbol is marked by a straight line with two emerging aerials. A precisely similar symbol was found in Locus 20 on an ellipsoid sandstone object with dimensions 0.18X0.16m and thickness of 0.03m. Several similar objects without incised symbols were found from the beginning of the excavation in Areas I and II. The use of these objects is for the moment inexplicable, however the presence of the incised symbol on one of them could also characterize the other similar objects as items with a symbolic significance. The same symbol on a sandstone plaquette was found in 2010 on another nearby site (Wadi Hamarash 5) very close to the river.
 A settlement in such a remote area, far from fertile plains, as the Safi area, is an unusual phenomenon. It would be more natural for a settlement of this period to be found in the valley next to the Dead Sea, irrigated by the river Wadi al- Hasa. A big settlement (regional center) probably existed in this area that has not been found yet. Wadi Hamarash 1 had the advantage of the river, but the cultivable area is small compared to that of Safi. It seems improbable that the residents of the site exploited the water of the river and transported this to the plateau, even if the level was higher than today. This would require technology that the residents of the site did not possess. The settlement probably constituted part of a “hydraulic society” that had established a singular culture along a river that had abundant water all year long.
 The recent discovery of two flint balls in the calcareous sediments that constitute the base of the plateau in Wadi Hamarash 1 have changed our initial opinion that this objects were imported from a distance and were therefore particularly precious. However, they constituted something unique and could lead to striking symbolisms about the people of this period. Perhaps the belief that these balls fell from the sky after natural disasters is proportional to modern beliefs of people living in the countryside that along with lightning stone axes fall from the sky.
 These objects have different sizes, weight and form, from perfectly circular to that of pressed ball. A ball that was found under the plateau next to the path that leads to the river was quite big and it was impossible to be carried to the settlement. The ball with the symbols that was found in the building could be transported to the area with great difficulty. A similar spherical nodule was found outside the symbolic building, at a small distance from the southern entrance. Its dimensions were smaller, with diam.0.36m and height 0.20m.
 As for the incised symbols, they could allude to a human body with upraised arms. Depictions of human forms on clay vessels or other materials are not rare in the Neolithic of the Balkans. A human figure with raised hands in Hungary dates back to the Bukk phase (Kalicz 1980, fig. 19). A similar incised symbol on vessels or figurines of  the Vinca culture in Serbia is included in the early Neolithic writing of the Balkans (Winn 2009, 586, Pesic 2003, fig. 5), while a similar symbol on ceramics from Troia I (Winn 1981, 248, Haarmann,fig. 2) has also been found. In any case, to my knowledge, this symbol has not been found in the Near East. However, in Saudi Arabia PPNB incisions on rocks have been found that portray schematic human figures. Two of them resemble the symbols found in Wadi Hamarash 1(Νayeem1990, 99; Khan 1988).
            Two important questions arise: Is it possible that a type of adoration was popular in the ΡΡΝΒ, performed by the community or certain privileged individuals in certain particular areas? Would this be a communal area such as the rectangular building where they carried out their religious duties? Gebel (2002) is uncertain as to whether during this period featured a social hierachy or a segregation between religion and daily needs.


Kalicz N., Clay gods. The Neolithic period and the Copper Age in Hungary, Budapest.
Haarmann H. 2008, The Danube script and its legacy, in J. Marler (ed.), The Danube script, 61-76, California.
Gebel H. K. 1999, Ba’ja Neolithic Project 1999. Architectural findings,  Neo-lithics 3, 18-21.
Gebel H. K. 2000, The 2000 season at Late PPNB Ba’ja, Neo-lithics  2-3, 20-22.
Gebel H K. 2002, The Neolithic of the Near East. An essay of a ‘polycentric evolution' and other current research problems, in H. J. Nissen (ed.), Material culture and mental spheres, 314-324.
Gebel  H. K. 2004, Lithic economic systems and early sedentism in K. von Folsach, H. Thrane and I. Thuesen (eds), From handaxe to Khan, 56-65, Aarhus Univ. Press.
Gopher A. 1994, Arrowheads on the Neolithic Levant, Indiana.
Khan M. 1988, The prehistoric rock art of Northern Saudi Arabia. A synthetic approach to the study of the rock art from Wadi Damn, NW of Tabuk, PhD thesis, Univ. of Southampton.
Mahasneh H. M. 2004, Spatial and functional features of Area B in Neolithic es-Sifiya, Jordan, in  H. D. Bienert, H. K. Gebel and R. Neef (eds), Central settlements in Neolithic Jordan, Berlin.
Νayeem Μ. Α. 1990, Prehistory and Protohistory of the Arabian peninsula, vol. I. 
Pesic R. 2003, Vincasco pismo. I drugi gramatoloski ogledi, Beograd.
Politis K., A. Sampson, M. O’ Hea 2009, Ghawr as-Safi survey and excavations 2008-2009, Annual of the Department of Antiquities of Jordan 53, 297-309.
Sampson A. 2011, Wadi Hamarash. A new MPPNB site in Jordan, Annual of the Department of Antiquities of Jordan 54.
Sampson A. 2011a, The excavation of 2010 at the Wadi Hamarash-Suweif (Ghawr as-Safi), Annual of the Department of Antiquities of Jordan 54.
Sampson A. in print, The Wadi Hamarash archaeological project at Safi, Jordan, in the Proccedings of the Prehistory workshop in Amman 2009.
Sayej G. J. 2004, The lithic industries of Zahrat Adh-Dhra’ 2 and the Pre-Pottery Neolithic period of the Southern Levant, BAR Int. 1329.
Simmons  A. H. and M. Najjar 2000, Preliminary field report  of the 1998-1999 excavation at Ghweir I, a pre-pottery Neolithic  B community in the Wadi Feinan region of southern Jordan, Neo-lithcs, (02,03), 4-6.
Simmons A. H. and M. Najjar 2001, Preliminary report of the 1999-2000 excavation season at the pre-pottery Neolithic settlement of Ghweir I, southern Jordan, Neo-lithics (02), 6-8.
Winn S. M. M. 1981, Pre-writing in Southeastern Europe, Calgary
Winn S. M. M. 2009, The Danube (Old European script) in J, Marler and  M. R. Dexter (eds), Signs of Civilization. Neolithic symbol system of Southeast Europe, California, 49-62.

Mesolithic settlement at Kythnos

The site of Maroulas in Kythnos is along the coast, close to the modern settlement of Loutra. Due to the sea level rise, possibly 50-60 m lower than the present, the greater part of the settlement has been destroyed. A rescue excavation at the site was initiated in 1996, which, after an interval of several years, has been reactivated since 2001.
At various spots in the site, round constructions have been located, mainly in the eastern part of the settlement next to the coast. Due to intense erosion and the absence of deposits, constructions were considerably damaged. At the NE end of the site (Trench 2), a stone-paved floor of irregular dimensions was cleared, partly destroyed in the direction of the sea. The floor was constructed of large slabs and numerous small stones. In Trench 5, two circular constructions/floors have been excavated, almost adjacent to each other. Both of them were bordered by small stones placed in an upright position. Further to the south, in Trench 6, the remains of a circular construction approximately 3.20 m in diameter have been excavated. These small and large stones are usually founded on fossil soil cemented by epigenetic carbonates during wet episodes on the site. Totally, 31 circular constructions have been retrieved. The circular constructions of Kythnos find parallels to the Natufian culture that flourished in Syria and Palestine between 13,000 and 9,500 B.C. Possibly similar are the circular constructions of the pre-Ceramic phase from Cyprus, chronologically corresponding to the Mesolithic period in the Aegean. Some similarities we can also find to oval semi-dug structures of the early phase of Lepenski Vir culture (e.g. Vlasac, layer I, house no 2a), mainly overground constructions with a circular base and a rectangular hearth inside (Vlasac, layer III, houses VI and IX).
During the first excavation season of Maroulas, eight skeletons were recovered in a contracted position, characteristic for this period, at different points of the area. The dead used to be placed inside a rock-cut cavity or a pit, either slab- or stone-lined, and finally covered with large slabs. The most important find was a skeleton that was recovered in the northern part of the site lying on its back, but in a strongly contracted position, since the bent knees were drawn up to the shoulders. The arms were bent and placed on the chest. The skeleton has been preserved in a fairly good condition, although a hard rocky crust covered the bones.
Αn other site with Mesolithic burials is Franchthi Cave in Ermioni, Argolid. Eight burials, with two cremations among them, were discovered at the entrance of the cave. All of them date from the Lower Mesolithic save one, which dates to the following period, of the Upper Mesolithic. Many other bone fragments and teeth date from both periods, and were recovered among abundant animal bones. These burials and the concentration of scattered bones belong to approximately 28 individuals. A burial yielded the intact body of a 25-30-year-old man, who probably died of a strong blow on the head. His skeleton lay in a semi-contracted position, in a N-S direction facing the East. Stones and a pile of terrestrial molluscs were placed on the body, while other stones surrounded the pit, in which the man was inhumed. Two of the burials, of a man and a woman, consisted of burnt bones cremated intentionally, as indicated by the condition in which skulls were found, exposed to fire, and the variable incineration of the longer bones, which were obviously covered by clothing. These constitute the earliest cremations in Greece.
In Kythnos, marine shells have occurred in smaller quantities, while fish bones are also present. The majority of the shells belong to the patella species, most common in the Greek coasts. Animal bones have been scanty and mainly belong to small-sized animals still unidentified. Furthermore, the study of faunal material from the site, consisting of fish, birds, and mammals in less quantity, has shown suids (Sus scrofa) in early domestication.
Recent radiocarbon samples assign fairly accurately the settlement and the cemetery on Kythnos to the 9th millennium B.C. (9346±67 B.P., 9571±65 B.P., 9440±40 B.P., 9420±50 B.P.). These dates of the Lower Mesolithic correspond to the ones already known from the Cyclops Cave in Youra, and Franchthi Cave in Ermioni.
It is obvious that the people who inhabited Κythnos were orientated toward sea activities, notably fishing. At the same time, they were also involved in food collecting and hunting of small animals or birds, as the excavation has not yielded any bones from large animals. Moreover, it is possible that they did not settle permanently at Maroulas, but rather that they moved to different sites and islands.
From the position of the island one can assume that Kythnos was part of a chain formed between Melos and the Greek mainland that related to the trading of obsidian (Melos – Kimolos – Siphnos – Seriphos – Kythnos – Keos – Attica – Argolid). Following this route, one could avoid the treacherous open sea from Melos to the eastern Peloponnese in the Myrtoon sea, especially in the case of Franchthi, where obsidian from Melos occurs since the Late Palaeolithic period. The presence of the obsidian at Franchthi from as early as the 10th mill. B.C. has been commented upon a lot lately, even though it has not been easy to speculate that the inhabitants of the cave actually had the necessary skills in order to travel to the open sea of the Myrtoon area so early. It is more safe to assume that the transportation of the raw material was carried out by Palaeolithic populations from mainland Greece, and probably also from the Cycladic islands, who cleared the ground for the later Kythnos inhabitants. The first occurrence of Melian obsidian at Franchthi corresponds with the warm Alleröd phase (9,800-8,800 B.C.), which probably facilitated traveling and fishing in the Aegean. Fishing and seafaring activities at that stage suffice to prove that people had already started to turn to new systems of economy and adopt rapidly new diets based on sea resources as early as the 10th mill. B.C
Thus, apart from the sea route in the northern Aegean that united Thessaly with NW Asia Minor, the possibility of more sea routes in the southern Aegean must not be neglected. Further evidence of early navigation is the settlement of Crete in the 7th millennium B.C., by small groups of people who are assumed to have come from the East. However, the likelihood of people moving from the direction of the southern Peloponnese cannot be excluded in this case.It is certain that some traveling took place between the Aegean islands, aiming at visual contact, at least. Moreover, it is most possible that Mesolithic seamen would travel to the western Asia Minor coast. Therefore, similarities between the stone industry from Cyclops Cave on Youra and the corresponding one from Antalya in Asia Minor should not come as a surprise. The recent discovery of two Mesolithic sites in Ikaria, which bear striking resemblances to Kythnos, reinforces this view. Off the southern end of Euboea, the islands of Andros, Tenos, and Mykonos seem to form another geographical chain. Mykonos is visible from Ikaria and it would not be difficult for people of the time to cross this distance in good weather conditions. From there, the Asia Minor coast and the SE Aegean islands would be rather easy to travel to. All recent finds lead to the assumption that, at least, 10,000 years ago navigation activities in the Aegean were considerably more expanded than what we have previously imagined.
A typical feature of this period is the engagement in intensive fishery. For the first time in the history of prehistoric archaeology, we know so many details about the circumstances of fishing activities among so early population groups, notably the cases of the Cyclops Cave on Youra, and Franchthi. On the contrary, very limited archaeological evidence is available of similar activities in Neolithic times. This can be accounted for by the fact that, although the Aegean Sea and, generally, the Mediterranean never ceased to be rich in fisheries, new economical tendencies have come about in the Neolithic period (e.g. cultivation, the expansion of herds, etc.).

Μεσολιθική Ελλάδα 9000-6500 π.Χ. Παλαιοπεριβάλλον, οικονομία, τεχνολογία

Αδαμάντιος Σάμψων

Ίων, 2010
193 σελ.
ISBN 978-960-411-724-6
Τιμή € 30,00

Ο συγγραφέας του βιβλίου, Σάμψων Αδαμάντιος, αρχαιολόγος και καθηγητής στο τμήμα Μεσογειακών Σπουδών, με ειδίκευση στη Μεσολιθική και Νεολιθική περίοδο, παρουσιάζει μέσω αυτού του δίγλωσσου (ελληνικά και αγγλικά) συγγράμματος όλα τα στοιχεία που αφορούν τη Μεσολιθική Ελλάδα σχετικά με το Περιβάλλον την Οικονομία και την Τεχνολογία, ανά περιοχές και μέσω έγχρωμων φωτογραφιών, ευρημάτων, επεξηγηματικών σκίτσων, χαρτών και επιστημονικών πινάκων.

1. Η Μεσολιθική Περίοδος στη Βορειοδυτική Ελλάδα και τη Θεσσαλία
2. Η Μεσολιθική Περίοδος στην Κεντρική Ελλάδα
3. Η Μεσολιθική Περίοδος στην Πελοπόννησο
4. Η Μεσολιθική Περίοδος στο χώρο του Βορείου Αιγαίου
5. Η Μεσολιθική Περίοδος στο Κεντρικό και Νότιο Αιγαίο
- Η Μεσολιθική Περίοδος στην Ικαρία
- Η Προϊστορία της Κύθνου και ο Μεσολιθικός οικισμός στα Λουτρά
6. Γενικά Συμπεράσματα
- Το Κλίμα και το Περιβάλλον στο Πρώιμο Ολόκαινο
- Μεσολιθική Οικονομία
- Χρονολογία της Ελληνικής Μεσολιθικής Περιόδου
- Η Ελληνική Μεσολιθική Περίοδος και οι σχέσεις της με πολιτισμούς της Εγγύς Ανατολής και της Ανατολίας
- Η Μεσολιθική Κατοίκηση στον Ευρωπαϊκό χώρο
- Ταφικές Πρακτικές στην Ελλάδα κατά τη Μεσολιθική Περίοδο και σχέσεις με άλλους πολιτισμούς
- Ναυσιπλοΐα και μετακινήσεις στο Μεσολιθικό Αιγαίο
- Η Τέχνη στη Μεσολιθική Περίοδο
- Η χρήση του Πηλού στη Μεσολιθική Περίοδο
- Η Μεσολιθική Περίοδος στην Ελλάδα και οι προοπτικές της

7. Η Μεσολιθική Περίοδος του Αιγαίου: Ένας υβριδικός πολιτισμός, με εξωστρεφής κοινωνία

IKARIA Prehistory and Ethnoarchaeology

Ikaria is a large island that remained isolated due to its deprivation of natural ports, and its rough and mountainous formation, from antiquity until now. The archaeological research so far has been scarce, and the prehistory of the island has been totally obscure. Occasional surface surveys conducted in the past by  the archaeologist and historian Themis Katsaros had led to the collection of stone axes and plenty of obsidian that show a substantial Neolithic activity. This limited prehistoric collection is found today in the Archaeological Museum of Agios Kirikos and establishes a balanced distribution of prehistoric findings in the whole island.
When the author of this volume visited the island of Ikaria in 1996 as head of the Ephorate of Cyclades, had the opportunity to survey numerous sites indicated to me by Th. Katsaros. At the same time, he spotted new prehistoric sites in the west and east parts of the island, and he observed that the northeast side and, more importantly, the area between Ag. Kirikos and Faros, features the largest amount of prehistoric sites (Fig. 1).
In 2004, he started a systematic survey of the island with students of the University of the Aegean and he located more than 20 sites. In the area between Ag. Kirikos and Faros he located five sites which, judging from the type of stone industry, could be dated to the pre-neolithic period. This is exceptionally important because so far no findings of that age had ever been located in the eastern Aegean Sea or in the coast of Asia Minor which lies across. It must be stressed that no pottery was spotted in any of these sites.
The excavation at Kerame
In the summer of 2007, the excavation in the most significant of the five pre-neolithic sites was initiated. The site is called Kerame and is situated next to the sea on a rocky peninsula, an area of 5000m2  (Fig. 15, 16, Pl. 14, 16).
The project's purpose was to clarify the prehistoric occupation sequence in the island of Ikaria from the Mesolithic to the Late Neolithic, with emphasis on issues of subsistence strategies and contacts with the rest of the Aegean and Asia Minor. The project also intended to enrich our knowledge on the palaeoenvironment, and to detect phenomena such as sea level changes, regional palaeogeomorphology and climatic conditions. The reconstruction of the palaeoenvironment i.e. the eustatic and isostatic parameters influencing sea level changes per period, the climatic conditions, the sea depths; all drive us to crucial questions also concerning seafaring, navigation methods, trade routes, etc.
 In 2007, nine trenches were dug, most of which faced towards the sea. Although surface findings are found everywhere in the area, the majority was unearthed from trenches C, D, and E (Fig. 16, 18-24, Pl. 17-23)). More often than not upper layers feature a large quantity of stone tools of obsidian and flint, whereas in lower layers findings are scarcer. Four trenches were dug until the rock formation, 0.80 -0.90m deep. No clear construction remnants were found but for limestone slabs that probably formed constructions that were ruined due to the intense cultivation of the site in the past. Still, it would be unnatural for significant architectural remnants to be found, as at the time constructs consisted mainly of base material such as wood and grass, which, however, leave no signs.
In 2008 the Mesolithic site was dug further as four new trenches were opened and some of them opened in 2007 that were left unfinished were dug further. In the SW corner in the 3rd layer of trench G a large grouping of stones was found that are reminiscent of a stoned pavement, whereas in the SE corner no stones were unearthed and the soil was soft. In the fourth layer of the trench, at its northern side, large stones came to surface, and the artifacts were considerably fewer.
North of trench G, trench I was opened, measuring 4X3m, and the first two layers featured many obsidian and flint stone artifacts. At the depth of 0,30m large stones were found, which, however, do not seem to belong to larger structures.
Trench H and I were further dug, unearthing a layer of pebbles in which no artifacts were found. A new trench J which was opened to the north of trench G gave a lot of lithic artifacts. Trench K was opened at the northernmost part of the settlement in an area of downward inclination where the deposits were soft and stone-free. The artifacts were far less than expected and it seems that, even though the stone artifacts exist in an area of 4.000 m2, they are mostly concentrated at the flat eastern part of the site, which must have served as the westernmost part of the settlement. Trenches C and E were also dug further in order to observe the expanse of the stones they contained.
Furthermore, in the same area rather large stones were concentrated without, however, constituting structures’ foundations or other structures. In trenches C and E, however, stone formations could in all probability belong to structures already ruined by cultivation practices (Fig. 20). It can be assumed that only the westernmost part of the site has been preserved, while its main part was ruined by erosion and the fall of rocks in the sea.
Moreover, the profiles of the trenches were designed and it was observed that the layers feature the same continuation. Three layers were found (Fig. 21, 23), among which the thickest (0.20-0.30m) consists of pure brown soil, followed by the second thickest (0.30m) which consists of light brown soil and small- or big-size stones, and the third one mainly consists of pebbles.
During the digging process, Dr. J. Basiakos, geologist at Nuclear Center of Demokritos, performed a geological study of the site, and samples were extracted from the two upper layers of trenches C and D to be dated using Optical Luminesence. Three charcoal samples that were extracted by Dr. G. Facorellis from trenches G and I showed that they were of younger age.
The lithic industry
Τhe lithic material are studied by J. Kozlowski και M. Kaczanowska. From the beginning was evident that the stone industry of the site is extremely similar to the Mesolithic settlement of Maroulas, Kythnos (Sampson et al. 2002, 45). The lithic inventory was large and homogenous in terms of technology and typology. In all trenches a total of 4000 artifacts including obsidian, flint, quartz, quartzite, rhyolite and hematite. The identification of Melian obsidian and obsidian from the island of Yali (Pl. 22) seems unquestionable, especially as on the neigbouring Fourni Islands the occurence of obsidian has not been confirmed. Quartz and quartzite are undoubtedly local contained within the shales as veines in the vicinity of the site.
Tool categories and types are similar to those at the sites of Cycladic Mesolithic, however the quantitative proportions of the various categories are different. At Kerame retouched flakes and denticulate-notched tools predominate (28.9%, Fig. 28). The proportions of microliths (backed pieces, truncations, and geometric microliths), perforators and becs and end-scrapers are almost equal: from 15.2% to 18.1% (Fig. 27). Other tool categories are less numerous, namely: side-scrapers, retouched blades, raclettes, combined tool (end-scrapers/truncations, end-scrapers/perforators, end-scrapers and perforators combined with denticulated-notched tools etc). The proportion of retouched tools on blades is low (15.2%) in comparison with tools on flakes. Some tools are made on cores, splintered pieces and stone plaquettes.
The similar structure of retouched tools indicates similar activities in the camps, while the stylistic similarity of debitage and retouched tools confirms that the inhabitants of the site belonged to the same cultural tradition.
Of importance for the interpretation of the site is the evidence of scatter-patterns, namely the horizontal distribution of lithic artifacts in the various trenches dug in the areas where artifacts occur on the surface. The biggest number of artifacts concentrated above the cliff, in the belt of trenches C, D, E, G, I (Fig. 16). The trenches located further to the west (F, B) and east (L) provided notably fewer artifacts. The trenches located further to the north of the cliff also contained fewer artifacts.
The Mesolithic sites of Ikaria are exceptionally important to the prehistory of the Aegean, because, second only to the Mesolithic site of Maroulas in Kythnos, Ikaria is an island that features outdoor habitation so early, and it is the third island in the Aegean basin that features pre-neolithic findings. Certainly other sites dating to the same era would also be situated in the Aegean, but due to the rise of the sea level since then (40-50m) most of these sites are probably not accessible. More importantly, so old sites have never been found so far in the eastern Aegean and the coast of Asia Minor.
The fact that five sites featuring Mesolithic stone industry have been spotted, as well as others from the Neolithic, is indicative of a network of sites and not just a casual usage of the area. Kerame is put forward as the major site of the Mesolithic, while others seem to be of limited expanse Indeed, the settlement spans over an unusually large area, much more extensive than in Maroulas; this would even have been larger if we add to it the eroded segment of the peninsula. It is not therefore a small camp site, but a real settlement given the circumstances of the time. Furthermore, the Mesolithic Ikaria model bears similarities to Kythnos’, but also to Kandia’s settlement model, in east Argolis, which recently gave Mesolithic tools in caves and outdoor sites (JFA 18.2 (2005), 259-285).
It is strikingly odd that the stone tools found in these sites bear remarkable similarities to the ones found in the site of Maroulas in Kythnos, excavated by the author in the past few years. Maroulas is so far the sole Mesolithic settlement investigated in the Aegean (Sampson et al. 2010) Although this was partly destroyed, many circular constructions were unveiled, as well as paved areas and 27 burials. The settlement, according to many charcoal samples, dates exceptionally early (8800-8700 BC calibrated) and seems to be older than Franchthi Cave and Cyclops Cave on Youra. Τhe author conducted excavation projects for five years in the Cave of Cyclops on the island of Youra (Sampson 2008, 2011), and there he located for the first time undisturbed Mesolithic layers in the Aegean area. Forty dates established a basis for the Aegean Mesolithic chronology, dividing this period in two parts, Lower and Upper Mesolithic.
These similarities help to be established a comparative dating pattern in the Early Mesolithic and may attest to contacts and movements in the Aegean from such an early time. The similarity between the stone industry of Ikaria and Kythnos’ may lead to the assumption that the alleged sea route existed since the 9th mill. BC (Fig. 30), connecting the two sides of the Aegean along the sea currents and the chain of the Cycladic islands (Andros, Tenos, Mykonos, Ikaria, Samos).
As for the absolute chronology of the site, it has been impossible to be collected reliable charcoal samples; however, obsidian artefacts from Kerame analysed by the new SIMS-SS method (Liritzis & Laskaris 2012) gave radiometric determinations, which suggest  that Kerame and Maroulas on Kythnos  were contemporaneous (beginning of  9th mill BC).  

Excavations at Nifi 1
In Nifi, very close to the pre-neolithic site 4 and next to the sea (Pl. 28), a segment of a Late Neolithic settlement is preserved featuring remnants from rectangular buildings and pottery. Moreover, further smaller neolithic sites have been located along the NE coast of the island on eroded capes. It is stressed that all the Neolithic and pre-neolithic sites, except for the one in Glaredo, are situated close to the coast and face a considerably close sea area which is confined by Ikaria and Samos in the north, and the islands of Fourni. Research in the area aimed to study the succession of phases from the end of Mesolithic to Late Neolithic in a corner of the Aegean Sea where no light had been shed so far, and describe a singular closed Neolithic economy, which was manifested by unusual constructions that stick to traditional forms of dwelling.
In Nifi was dug the part of the Neolithic settlement that was left, its largest part having already fallen in the sea. A detailed grid was designed and the area was divided in 1 m2  squares (Fig. 31). At the NE corner of the site (sector A) three walls from a Neolithic building were dug and an open bowl was found intact in situ. In sector B, a thick destruction layer was spotted containing plenty of pottery and intact vases (Pl. 32-34). Only the upper part of this layer was surveyed.
In sector C a rectangular room was unearthed and its four well-preserved walls. The building measures externally 4.60X3.40 m. (Pl. 30, 31). The great thickness of the eastern wall (0.75 m.) is impressive, probably owing to the downward inclination of the site at this point. Due to the extensive erosion the walls were of small height. Additionally, a stone pavement consisting of small-size stones was found, which covers the largest part of the room. The pottery inside the building was scarce, mainly comprising cheese-pot vase fragments that date from the Late Neolithic.
In the course of the 2009 season, excavation continued in squares D 7, 8 and 9 on the site of Nifi, where in 2008, part of a Neolithic settlement was uncovered. This specific area produced prolific pottery at several depths. It probably forms a destruction level, which however, does not seem to correspond to a specific building. Remains of walls exist at a higher level, as well as a rectangular structure with upright slabs of unknown purpose. In square E8 and at 0.40m, an oval millstone (Fig. 36) from granite was found, as well as limited pottery. At a lower level (0.60m) pottery increased and belonged to big closed vessels. This level, from dark soil and small stones, was very hard and contained scarce scattered burnings. A third level of the same nature and even harder contained numerous pottery, from both small and large pots. In this level, numerous coarse vessels and a complete cup (Pl. 33, Fig. 32: 7-10), together with fragments from other three cups, were found in 2008.
Excavation lasted for several days and abundant pottery was collected, mostly plain wares. Scarce were sherds with black slip, belonging to small closed pots. Sherds from large vessels bore incised decoration from bands of lines or angles. Generally, pottery was frisky, due to incomplete firing. Melian obsidian, as was observed in 2008, was also scarce.
On the whole, the pottery of the site is unburnished and coarse and few sherds feature coating and burnish (Fig. 35). The cheese-pots (Fig. 33:23) and some typical lugs bear similarities to the pottery of Samos (Tigani) and they probably date in the 4th mill. BC. The pottery shares also similarities with the NE Aegean islands and the Dodecanese, another area where the author has excavated Neolithic settlements and caves (Sampson 1987), when he was appointed by the Service of Antiquities to work at that region (1976-1981), and later (since 1986 onwards) when he undertook the direction of the Neolithic Project of the island of Yali (Sampson 1988).
The large amount of pottery allowed for a typology which proves chronologically distant from the ceramic sequence of the Cyclades (Saliagos, Ftelia) and eastern Aegean (Emporio Chios, Tigani Samos). The existence of three fragments of cheese does not constitute a chronological criterion for this specific site and generally for the eastern Aegean, where this type of pottery appears later or has longer duration, while in the Cyclades it has been dated already from the beginnings of the 5th millennium BC.
The same appears to hold true in the Dodecanese, where cheese pots appear in the later phases of the Neolithic (Yali Nissiros, Partheni on Leros). The large open bowl and the one handle cup from Nifi bear strong resemblance with one handled cup from the islet of Alimnia near Rhodes (Sampson 1987, fig. 102:33), the pottery of which has been dated in the last phase of the Neolithic (Terminal Neolithic). Resemblances also exist with bowls from Partheni on Leros. An AMS date from Nifi (4490±25 BP) confirms the late dating of the site. Nifi seems to constitute one of the few sites of such a late date, like Cyclops Cave on Youra (3652-3527 BC), Sarakenos Cave (3757-3640 BC), Tharrounia Cave on Euboea (3666-3517 BC) and Kephala on Keos (3710-3380 BC).
It was observed that the obsidian stone artifacts in Nifi were rather few compared with the abundant pottery, and in other Neolithic sites on the island, in the inner part of the island and at a higher altitude, the obsidian abounds far more compared with the pottery. However, owing to the fact that the area dug so far is limited, the sample cannot be representative.

Excavations at Glaredo

The area of Glaredo is located at a semi-mountainous region in the SE part of the island and has preserved singular circular buildings (Fig. 36). Pottery and arrowheads collected in the past are similar to those found in the Neolithic settlement of Saliagos on Antiparos and Ftelia on Mykonos. The site of Palioperivolos (Fig. 37), some kilometers southwest of Nifi, dates also to Late Neolithic; the site was recently unearthed following a big fire that burned down the forest completely. In this area twenty circular or ellipsoid constructions have been spotted which are built in a neolithic deposit. In 2009 excavation started at the site Palioperivolos. Research in the area aimed to study the singular closed Neolithic economy which was manifested by unusual constructions that stick to traditional forms of dwelling and identify possible similarities or dissimilarities compared to the already dug neolithic site in Nifi.
Work at the site has been strenuous, on the one hand because the area was  not easily accessible and on the other hand because of the dense vegetation covering the structures.
After shrubs and short trees had been removed from two terraces where structures had been spotted, unearthing of the structures commenced. Building 1 is circular with a diameter of 3.70 m. and consists of big granite blocks, in upright position, while some have been removed from original position (Fig. 38, Pl. 41). The megalithic nature of this structure is unusual while upright blocks underline the possible existence of a supra-structure. An opening on the south side must have served the entrance. The finds from the area of the building were very few, some obsidian blades and two grinders, but we have to take into consideration that, due to the inclination of the terrain, as well as heavy erosion, deposits have been washed off. A trench opened on the east side produced no finds and reached hard virgin soil.
In a more spacious terrace, NW of building 1, a large elliptical building (building 2) was uncovered with internal dimensions of 6.50 by 4.10m (Fig. 39, Pl. 42-44). The west, east and south sides are preserved in a good state, with fairly good quality of masonry from unworked stone. The walls are about 60 centimeters wide, yet the NE wall is considerably wider. The wall seems stronger at the south and southeast, where the entrance, judging by the flat stones at the spot and one vertically positioned, probably the door posts. It is observed that at the south and north part, the interior flank of the wall is marked by upright slabs, while other upright slabs have also been added. The walls are preserved usually at 0.20-0.30m height, however in the north and northwest side they reach 0.40- 0.50m.
Roughly in the centre of the building, a stratigraphical trench was dug, 1.00 by 0.80m, which reached the depth of 0.60m: down to 0.30m, soil was dark brown, because of the roots growing in the interior of the building. Within the layer, a lot of obsidian blades were discovered, a few neolithic sherds, badly worn, as well as a grinders and two millstones of granite. Beneath this layer, a sub- yellow soil existed, 0.30m thick, which produced few fragments of obsidian. More pottery and blades are found at lower areas, below buildings 1 and 2, which obviously have rolled from higher areas.
Despite the difficulties due to the thick vegetation a systematic ground research was carried out in an extensive area which featured considerable amounts of obsidian and Neolithic sherds with rounded edges, indicating they had been rolled. In the same area, stone axes, querns (Pl. 45) and arrowheads have been collected from locals previously, now exhibited in the Ag. Kyrikos museum. It is characteristic that nowhere in the area, has modern or historic period pottery been found. 
In any case, the two buildings are not the only ones in the area. After the catastrophic fire of 1996, when the area has been completely deforested, other structures have also appeared, mainly circular but rectangular also. Although locals witness for the existence of about 40 structures, we have been able to locate and topographically document another eight, the dimensions and construction of which resemble building 1. Building 2 is so far the largest and occupies an extensive terrace. Single straight walls have also been located, some of them considerably sturdy.
Building 1 can be considered a large residence, while building 2, as well as the others with megalithic masonry, may have served different purposes. This type of habitation is unique in the Aegean area of the time and is indicative of a parochial attitude, and persistence in the heritage of the circular type of habitation that is seen in Anatolia and the Near East already since the 10th millenium BC (Rosenberg 1999; Stordeur 1996) and in the Aegean since the beginning of 9th mill BC (Kythnos). Although the site is not distant from the sea, the mountainous landscape hints to other forms of subsistence, like that of animal husbandry, reversely from the coastal site of Nifi, the subsistence of which was based mainly on marine activities.
Pottery found on site is different from that at Nifi and obviously dates to a different phase, certainly older, judging by the arrowheads, typical of “Saliagos- Ftelia” phase (beginning of 5th mill BC). Pottery is always hard- fired and belongs to large coarse vessels (Fig. 40).
Archaeological research at the highlands of Ikaria

In this area, with an altitude of 900m where many rock shelters occur, it appears to exist a long held tradition of animal husbandry (Fig. 41). In some of these rock shelters were found Neolithic pottery and numerous pieces of obsidian (Fig. 8, Pl. 7a, b). It is noted that the obsidian artifacts in this mountainous area are more abundant than what has already been found in the Neolithic sites of Nifi and Glaredo. At the site Afediki, where a large number of pottery and obsidian artifacts have been found in the surface around a complex of rock shelters we performed a trial dig trench on a rock shelter. However, the sediments were very thin and neither constructions were found nor pottery. Neolithic pottery and obsidian was also collected in front of a rock shelter at the area of Zizokampos (Fig. 54) and at the area Pinaki near the village Trapalou, where numerous fallen rocks of granite have created caves and rock shelters (Fig. 8, 13).
The surface surveys for the Neolithic sites in the highlands of Ikaria revealed material which has remarkable similarities with Ftelia on Mykonos (Sampson 2002), where the applicant has for many years excavated a big Neolithic settlement. Τhe site of Ftelia has exhibited considerable cultural affiliations with the area of Euboea, where the author has for long studied the Neolithic through research projects in more than 120 sites. In the area of central Euboea, the excavation of the cave Skoteini at the village of Tharrounia (Sampson 1993) has yielded excellent stratigraphic information on the sequence of the Late Neolithic, which provided a good correlation basis for the Neolithic research of the whole South Greece then onwards.
The feature of Ikaria is a fully harbourless island, very mountainous with a mountain traverse along the island at an altitude of around 1000 meters. The lack of ports on the one hand and the availability of arable land, abundant water and good pasture on the other turned the island's economy away from the sea so to create an introspection that has continued from ancient times until today. The dense vegetation of Ikaria and the presence of high and steep mountains contributed to the creation of regular isolation during the Byzantine and post-Byzantine times, leading for a long time to the opinion that the island was uninhabited. The defense against pirates in those dark centuries was natural to rely on concealment and isolation rather than fortification. The people chose to tactics of hiding in the forested mountainous environment of the island and not to barricade themselves in places that were visible from the sea and thus vulnerable to attacks which happened in many Aegean islands with little vegetation.
There is no information about the existence of settlements before the 17th century and probably Pamphilis’ view (1980), that after the Franks the island had no significant settlement and residents settle together in scattered houses which later became permanent hamlets so called ' spitokathismata ', seems to be correct.
The Ikarian society from its beginning, in the turbulent times of the Turkish occupation to date, based on a rural household economy. The farmland surrounded the home while within this area there was the garden for vegetables that were irrigated, the farmland for cereals, vines and trees.
The wheat sowed by the Ikarians was not enough to feed its population of over half a year, so they had to obtain it from other islands, such as Chios, making barter trade. Main source of supply of barley was the neighboring Mykonos from which porks and donkeys for agricultural work were transferred to Ikaria.
With all aspects of livestock on the island have been extensively studied by A. Kapetanios in his doctoral dissertation (2011) by comparison with Crete and Epirus highlands. My observations on this matter are based ​​on multiple visits of mine in the highlands of western Ikaria and the information gathered from the old and young villagers.
Watching the rock shelters in the highlands of the island and collecting excavation or surface material someone could say that the use of these shelters was diachronic starting from the Neolithic period and the Bronze Age, including the ancient historical period, and arriving in medieval times and the Ottoman era. However, the findings in the highlands of Ikaria usually present a gap after the Neolithic period which is unexplicable. The pottery of the Bronze Age is in general rare and only in one case Mycenaean sherds were observed in Afediki area. Also rare is the pottery of classical and hellenistic period in the highlands. However, Ikaria is a rare case of island that in the same places coexist findings and structures and show similar pastoral practices of the Neolithic period and modern times. Thus, with the study of animal management in the island of Ikaria in recent times possibly a picture of the economy of the inhabitants in prehistoric and historic times becomes feasible, although the usual ethnoarchaeological approach based on proportions (Binford 1967, 1978; Nandris 1982; Eustratiou 1982, 1993) is not always a safe method.

What is particularly interesting is that in Ikaria unusual practices take place on livestock that follow a long tradition.  It is about a free goat husbandry that begins at least from the early years of Ottoman rule according to testimonies of old foreign travellers. It seems that animals have always been free or limited in large areas with fences. Already in the 17th century Georgeirinis (1678) is writing that there is no care for flocks, which residents do not milk, nor lead to stables; they tend to visit them twice a year to measure and formulate signs in order to recognize. It is said that the wealthier residents bothered to milk some animals to make cheese. The important thing is that these management practices are still the same today.
This kind of husbandry was established and in other islands such as in parts of Euboea, at Kythnos, Halki, Naxos, Ag. Efstratios etc. where pasturing goats exist. In Ag. Efstratios, for example, earlier and in recent years 9000 animals graze freely which are controlled by nine stock breeders but during the season of cheese making gather the animals and milk them. In the past the number of animals was the same, but were more breeders .
The lack of wildlife that could threaten the herds, the difference in climate and socioeconomic conditions separate the mainland from the island's animal management and enable farmers to invest their work differently and so they can have more options to schedule specific tasks (Kapetanios 2011). Following the division into three chronological phases of the management of animals in Greece (Kapetanios 2011 , 85) the longest period (phase I) starts from 15th to 16th century and covers a period of four centuries until the incorporation of Ikaria to Greece in 1913 .
The great development of herding probably started in the 16th century as all the foreign travellers refer to the very good pasture on the island that was exploited by the Samians. We cannot be sure if this statement is completely true but we believe that the local population had the control of animal exploitation .
The domesticated herding (“kopadiariki”), although today is rare, previously used to be the norm of a mixed productive economy practiced by the inhabitants. Today the deserted pens (“mantrokathismata") in Pezi witness a controlled management of animals from families that probably had agriculture as a second occupation. The animals, even in small flocks, were a stock of great value for the family.
Ikarian habitation model was based on a nuclear building, the "spitokathisma" or  “spitogyros", which included a residence in the type of “chito”, store rooms, choirokouma", "chostokeli", threshing floor, winepress and oil mill. The gathering of more than one similar unit was a settlement which usually was surrounded by a wall, while the walls of the houses gradually were abolished. It is natural that these core properties belonged to people with blood ties between them or to an extended family. This creates a great amount of settlements of Ikaria especially in northern and western side.
Previously in Ikaria someone could catch a space in order to built a “spitokathisma” and enclose an area for cultivation. Someone could also construct a “mantrostasi” acquiring the right to use a large area around it for grazing. When the buildings were abandoned the land and the constructions were free and could be used by someone else.
Walls surrounding large areas or dividing pastures are located in the mountains of Ikaria slopes or plateaus. In Erifi and Pezi enclosed areas are called “fraximia” (Pl. 43, 44) and used for cultivation. In other cases these fences define housing units in settlements that today have been abandoned such as Langada. Several times there were walls protecting small cultivated areas such as vines, important trees or  beehives and controlling the mobility of animals. There are also Ikaria walls along the canyons or along streams used to capture the wild goats (“agriomantres”).
The construction of these walls is simple and does not have anything special. The reason is that building material available in the island as granite and limestone is not suitable for building as schist in the Cyclades. Simple construction also present the walls holding the soil and creating terraces for cultivation. Compared to other islands of the Aegean as in Cyclades or Dodecanese, where terraces have been constructed even in steep mountain slopes, in Ikaria due to the large forest vegetation occur in some particular areas (Pl. 42). However, the vegetation of Ikaria hides old terraces that operated in the periods when the ground was cleared by fire.
Many structures are preserved in Afediki area located just above Pezi (Fig. 42-48, pl. 53-57). The area is dominated by large volumes of granite of various shapes ("louroi"), which by the way they are fitted by nature form small or large shaded areas (rock shelters). In many cases the rock shelters were expanded by building walls so as to create rooms.
In Afediki (Fig. 43, pl. 53) a huge volume of rock that has sat on another creates large shaded area that with the addition of a well constructed wall was used as a residence or cheese making. Adjacent created and other constructions that comprise a pen (“mantra”), while other areas fenced with wire show that the pen was working until recently.
Another property (6) is attached to two successive granitic rocks. Built with small flat stones saves the lintel and part of the roof (Fig. 47). Circular structures under rocks because of the low amount were used mainly for livestock. In most of these rockshelters case was found an abundance of Neolithic pottery and obsidian.
Other characteristic structures in Afediki observed at several points are low walls beneath rocks were used as refrigerators to store meat or other food; they are exposed to northerly winds while the masonry consists of stones built in purpose to pass the air through them.
On the plateau Sarantiadon, located west of the fenced areas also exist deserted pens in various ground plans (Fig. 49-51, Pl. 55, 56) but fewer rock shelters. At higher altitude in Zizokampos a forested plateau traversed by small streams was in use until recently. The vegetation consists of oaks that have become large trees. Even at the end of July some streams still held water. The few pens in this area are near streams and in shady areas (Fig. 11, pl. 64-65).

The study of the old abandoned  settlements such as Koumaro, Lagada, Ventoureika, Ag. Savvas, Kampa, Ventourospita and some others have a particular significance. Small houses are joined for some particular reason in places hidden from the sea. Usually in the same place larger and smaller dwellings coexist, and the fact is probably attributed to some class differences.
The model in Koumaro is unusual is with scattered houses in the area; however, this is about a settlement that has medieval origins and is beyond the Ikarian standards. In Koumaro the standard form of the "chito" house type that we meet later does not exist, although in some buildings there are features that later occur in the characteristic type of Ikarian residence.
It is about a mountainous area south of the church of Ag. Isidore in an altitude 650-600 m. (Fig. 56, pl. 82). In a sloping basin that is well hidden and not visible from the sea the scattered relics of houses are dated to the turbulent times of the late medieval or early years of Ottoman rule. This wooded area is traversed by streams that have eroded in a great extent the land. A paved path leads (Pl. 83) starting from the church of Ag. Isidore leads to Koumaro and continues through the mountains to the seashore; this is part of the old path that connected the village Karkinagri with Raches.
Everywhere are seen damaged terraces for cultivation and show that many centuries have passed since the use of the area. There are also threshing floors and olive presses in an unusual and primitive type (Pl. 92). The architectural type of the buildings is unusual in Ikaria and comprises a room with a sloping roof and sometimes a vestibule (Fig. 58, 60, 61). In some case a second smaller room exists.
The site Mavri or Ellinika is located near the cape Papas, the westernmost tip of Ikaria. At this point lies a not so safe anchorage protected from the northerly winds. Huge rock volumes (“louroi”) create an unreal landscape (Pl. 95-97). In summer the area is very hot, while during the winter is suitable for transhumance of shepherds (“himadio”). The cavities created on the rocks by the rain and the wind are called in Ikaria “kamares” and were used appropriately as shelters and entire houses (Pl. 95-97). In some cases the residence has two floors and includes fireplaces, stoves and built beds.
In medieval times and during the turkish occupation the area was inhabited by locals who wanted to hide themselves or by pirates who used Mavri as a base to attack passing ships However, the area is called Ellinika which means that those who lived there were considered indigenous unlike other immigrants who came from other places.
The old settlement of Lagada has special architectural interest because of the characteristic type of houses. The site is located in a dense forest descending from Pezi to Vrakades. These low one-room houses (Fig. 62), with dim. 2.50X 3.00 or 3.00X4.00 m, that in Ikaria are called "chita” have a sloping pitched roof covered with slabs.
In Langada there are also two room houses some of which have a second floor (Pl. 99). This type began to appear in the early 19th century and shows prosperity of the island's trade and the expanding of coal making. These houses that were called  “towers” had gabled roofs.
Ventourospita is a small settlement of post-Byzantine times (probably of the 17th century) which lies at a low altitude near a ravine not far from the airport (Fig. 5). Apparently the settlement belonged to families with blood ties between them. Although not far from the sea, the place is very well chosen and offers concealment. Apart the ravine which should preserve water in winter, the area is quite bare of vegetation with exposed limestone rock everywhere. The areas for cultivation are few, but everywhere there are olive trees that would yield a good production of olive oil.
The houses belong to the type of "chito" and are built with dry limestone and based on the rock (Fig. 64-67, Pl. 102-106). These houses are roofed with limestone slabs placed on beams and planks.
The location of the other hidden settlement of Agios Savvas is next to the road leading from the airport to the village Perdiki (Fig. 69, 70). Small properties being in contact each other have been built on a steep slope that leads to deep ravine (Fig. 71, 72, Pl.111, 113-115). On a plateau a large and well constructed house in “chito” type dominates the small properties. Apart this house the other have small dimensions and belong to the “chito” type. The settlement is completely hidden from the sea and the houses are not seen even from the nearby road. From Ag. Savvas there is visual contact with the Byzantine castle of Kefalas (Pl. 109). Terraces for cultivation are seen on both sides of the ravine, while vertical walls separate properties for pasture. One problem is the dating of the settlement due to lack of data, since neither the chronology of the church of Ag. Savvas is known because it has been renovated in recent years. Certainly the settlement dates back to the last centuries of Turkish rule and had a long duration. Judging from the bad condition of the buildings someone could say that the Ventourospita settlement is somewhat older. The architectural style of the “chito" that dominates in both areas and the front hiding wall is an evidence of dating and leads us to a time when there was uncertainty in the Aegean (late 16th - mid 17th century).