Excavations and discoveries. – According to Insidewatch, the intense excavation activity combined with the architectural restoration and reorganization of old and new museums, as well as the numerous scientific publications of the materials, has brought decisive contributions and very often substantial revisions to the historical framework of the ancient civilizations (see also athens ; attic ; clay ; cyprus ; thera, in this App.). Fundamental are the acquisitions in the field of prehistory which now dates back, also for Greece, to the Paleolithic period, and to protohistory.
Still isolated from a context is the Acheulean amygdala, discovered in Paleokastro, near Kozani; but British, French and German researches have by now attested various settlements of the Middle Paleolithic on large areas of the national territory, from Thessaly (Peneus valley), to Chalkidiki (Neanderthal skull of Petralona), to Epirus (Luros valley), to Eptaneso (Corfu, Kefalonia), Elide (Peneus valley); notable, in the same areas, is also the presence of materials from the upper Paleolithic, with a first documentation of figurative art (engraved plates of the Pelion).
The Mesolithic (9th millennium) is known above all from the recent excavation of the Franchthi cave in Argolis, where the oldest human skeleton, hitherto known in Greece, was discovered in a crouched position. The Neolithic, already known from the old excavations of Sesklo and Dimini, has undergone new classification following excavations in the same areas and in notable other centers of Thessaly (Arghissa, Sufli Magula, Otzaki Magula, Tzani Magula), of the islands (Knossos and Festos in Crete, Saliagos near Paro, Mykonos, Milo, Eubea) and the continent (Elatea, Lerna and Franchthi cave in Argolis, Marathon in Attica, Diros cave in Mani): it is now divided into the preceramic phase of the 7th millennium BC. C., in the Early Neolithic of the 6th millennium, in the Middle Neolithic of the 5th millennium (Sesklo culture) and in the Late Neolithic of the 4th millennium (Dimini culture). Coll ‘ introduction of metals in the 3rd millennium Greek prehistory is divided into the three major sectors of the continent (Helladic), Cyclades (Cycladic) and Crete (Minoan), with parallel divisions into phases and with reciprocal influences. The fundamental problems of the chronology of these phases and of the cultural interdependencies between the various areas are today more concretely addressed on the basis of an ever more extensive documentation.
For the early Bronze Age we can now distinguish a northeastern area with the centers of Troy and Poliochni (Lemnos) and other minor settlements in Lesbos (Thermi), Thrace (Dikili Tash) and Macedonia. The Sporades bridge forms a link with the Thessalian area (Rachmani, Arghissa, Tzani Magula). The knowledge of the continental proto-Helladic, characterized by ceramics with a luster achromatic or painted surface, has been considerably enriched with the results of excavations in Attica, in Aegina (Capo Col), in Euboea (Lefkandi), but above all in Lerna in Argolida, with overlapping of phases and with a demanding construction dominating the inhabited area (house of the tiles), which also allows considerations on the social structure of the center. New data have been added to the knowledge already acquired for the Middle Bronze Age, both for the continent (Middle-Helladic in Marathon, Athens, Eleusis, Lerna, Mycenae, Aegina, Malthi in Messenia, Lefkandi, Dorion, etc., with miniature ceramic and matt varnish), and for the islands (H. Irini in Kea, Kythera, with notable influences and exchanges from Crete). But the most notable contributions concern the late Bronze Age, in the continuous comparison between the fundamental recent Cretan and Thera discoveries and the broad horizon of the continental or Mycenaean Late Helladic, now widely documented in large areas of the Greece and the bordering areas on the Mediterranean..
The deciphering of Linear B writing (especially in the tablets of the rich archives of Knossos and Pylos) has allowed the fundamental ascertainment of the Hellenicity of the Mycenaeans and remarkable knowledge about their society, economy, trade and religion. The discovery led the research, also through the transmission of myths and the Homeric epic, to the recovery of Mycenaean phases at the basis of the development of numerous historical centers of Greece, and to the expansion of research in the most important areas of this culture. In particular, we remember the continuation of the excavations of Mycenae, with the substantial recovery of houses, a sanctuary with clay statuettes and notable fragments of frescoes, and a second circle of princely tombs, outside the walls; in Tirinto the German excavations operate within the limits of the lower fortified walls. Throughout the Argolis, finds have multiplied intensely, especially of tombs, among which the tomb withDendra panoply. Intensity of research also in Messenia, where the palace of Nestor in Pilo, with the remains of the architectural structures (mégaron, warehouses, archives, etc.) and with the variety of materials (tablets, frescoes, ceramics, etc.), constitutes a cornerstone for the knowledge of the Mycenaean world; other notable finds, especially tombs, in the surrounding areas. In Boeotia, new elements of the palace of Thebes have been brought to light, with precious deposits of oriental seals and inscribed tablets, and, in Tanagra, a series of larnakes painted with funerary themes. Remains of palatial structures have also recently been identified in Orchomenus and, further north, near Volo, on the site of ancient Iolkos, base of the Argonauts expedition. Particular research was also directed to the period of crisis of the submiceneo, which marks the transition to the culture of the protogeometric.
With the progressive formation of the polis and of wider cultural units, from the geometric period onwards, it is easier to follow the course of the latest discoveries according to a topographical layout that partly also corresponds to the current administrative subdivisions.