Σπηλια Θεοπετρα

Spilia Theopetra - Theopetra Cave


Useful Information

Image: the village Theopetra with the table mountain where Theopetra Cave is located.
Location: Theopetra village, Tricala Prefecture.
Open: .
[2010]
Fee: .
[2010]
Classification:  Karst cave Upper Cretacious limestone
Light: electric.
Dimension:  
Guided tours:  
Photography:  
Accessibility:  
Bibliography: Nina Kiparissi-Apostolika, ed. (2000): Theopetra Cave, Twelve Years of Excavation and Research 1987-1998. Institute for Aegean Prehistory, Athens, 2000.
Y. Facorellis, N. Kyparissi-Apostolika, Y. Maniatis (2001): The cave of Theopetra, Kalambaka, radiocarbon evidence for 50,000 years of human presence, Radiocarbon 43(2B): 1029-1048.
Karkanas, P., Kyparissi-Apostolika, N., Bar-Yosef, O., et al. (1999): Mineral assemblages in Theopetra, Greece, a framework for understanding diagenesis in a prehistoric cave. Journal of Archaeological Science 26 (9): 1171-1180.
Karkanas P. (2001): Site formation processes in Theopetra Cave, a record of climatic change during the late Pleistocene and early Holocene. Geoarchaeology 16 (4): 373-399.
Nina Kiparissi-Apostolika ed. (2000): Theopetra Cave, Twelve Years of Excavation and Research 1987-1998, Institute for Aegean Prehistory, Athens, 2000.
Address:  
Last update:$Date: 2013/04/25 23:00:34 $

History

 
1987excavation started.
11-SEP-2009opened to visitors.
2010temporarily closed due to new findings.
22-OCT-2010reopened.

Description

Image: the location of Theopetra Cave at the foot of the cliff.
Image: the location of Theopetra Cave at the foot of the cliff.

Theopetra Cave is a famous archaeological site. It is the first excavated cave in Thessalia, but its importance is the fact, that its deposits start at the Middle Paleolithic (50,000 BC) and last until the end of the Neolithic period (4,000 BC) without gaps. Theopetra Cave is quite possibly unique in containing, within a single site, the records of two highly significant cultural transitions. First that of the replacement of Neanderthals by modern humans and then the subsequent transition from hunter-gathering to farming after, the transition from the Paleolithic to the Neolithic way of life, at the end of the last Ice Age.

The cave is a huge chamber at the foot of a limestone cliff, high up on the hill above the village Theopetra. The entrance portal is very big, 17m wide and three meters high, with a huge chamber behind, almost rectangular with a size of 500m². The cave is reached on a winding road from the village.

The excavations started in 1987 and ended officially in 1998, but the discoveries are still ongoing. At first the visit of the cave was only possible during excavation works. Archaeologists were willing to guide sporadic visitors through the excavation. In 2009 the cave was officialy opened to the public, just to be temporarily closed again one year later. In 2010 an important discovery was made in this cave, a wall which was built 23,000 years ago, which means it is the oldest known human-built structure so far.


See also


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