Farming strategies at Kouphovouno, Lakonia, in the MN-LN Periods

William G. Cavanagh*, Josette Renard, Amy Bogaard, Armelle Gardeisen, Jean Cantuel, Petra Vaiglova, Charlotte Diffey

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)


This paper presents a summary overview of recent work on the faunal and plant remains from the Middle and Late Neolithic contexts (roughly 5800-5000 cal B.C.) excavated at the site of Kouphovouno in central Lakonia. It aims to alert researchers to a number of more specialized studies, some unpublished dissertations, and other recently published journal articles, which examined the plant and animal assemblages, as well as the nature of animal feeding habits. The faunal remains indicate that the distribution of the proportions of the main domesticated species was very similar in both the Middle and Late Neolithic periods; the kill-off patterns and butchery residue, however, hint at a different pattern of consumption from one period to the other. The dental wear analysis brought out the constrained range of the domestic ungulates, mainly feeding on grass rather than ligneous plants; pigs might have been kept in the village environs. Archaeobotanical analysis points inter alia to a significant role for free-threshing wheat, alongside hulled barley (the most ubiquitous crop) and glume wheats. An abundance of free-threshing wheat is unusual for the Neolithic of Greece (though also attested at Neolithic Knossos, for example) but known in the Neolithic Balkans. The widespread incidence of fig, fruit fragments, and seeds, is also notable. Stable isotope studies lead to inferences on contrasting management regimes for free-threshing wheat vs. barley. Some preliminary conclusions are suggested on the farming strategies inferred. We point to the differences between our observations at Kouphovouno and those from other contemporary sites in Greece, even those belonging to the same "archaeological culture." Each village developed its own preferences. It must be emphasized that this is very much a report on work in progress.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationCommunities, Landscapes, and Interaction in Neolithic Greece
EditorsApostolos Sarris, Evita Kalogiropoulou, Tuna Kalayci, Lia Karimali
Place of PublicationOxford, New York
PublisherBerghahn Books
Number of pages11
ISBN (Electronic)9781789201468
ISBN (Print)9781879621480
Publication statusPublished - 1 Aug 2018


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