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Athens News Agency: News in English, 09-09-11

Athens News Agency: News in English Directory - Previous Article - Next Article

From: The Athens News Agency at <>


  • [01] Usain Bolt visits school in Thessaloniki
  • [02] Prehistoric Cave opens to public
  • [03] Simitis not on ballot

  • [01] Usain Bolt visits school in Thessaloniki

    [02] Prehistoric Cave opens to public

    The opening to the public of the prehistoric Theopetra Cave in Trikala prefecture, will be marked with a concert on Friday.

    Theopetra Cave is a famous archaeological site, and the first excavated cave in Thessaly, with excavations starting in 1987 and continuing to the present. Its deposits begin in the Middle Paleolithic period and continue without gaps until the end of the Neolithic period (3000 BC). Its uniqueness is that in contains, within a single site, the records of two greatly significant cultural transitions: The replacement of Neanderthals by modern humans, and the later transition from hunter-gathering to farming after the end of the last Ice Age.

    The cave, situated just three kilometers from Meteora, consists of an immense 500 square meter rectangular chamber at the foot of a limestone hill, which rises to the northeast above the village of Theopetra, with a very big entrance 17m wide by three metres high. It lies at the foot of the Chasia mountain range, which forms the natural boundary between Thessaly and Epirus prefectures, while the Lithaios River, a tributary of the Pineios River, flows in front of the cave.

    Excavations, which have been systematically carried out, have unearthed light geological deposits dating to the Pleistocene and Holocene periods as well as anthropogenic deposits, indicating that the cave had been continuously inhabited during the Middle and Upper Palaeolithic, the Mesolithic and the Neolithic periods.

    Specimens found, such as coal and human bones, prove that the cave was occupied from about 50,000 BC to 4000 BC, and that temporary use continued during the Bronze Age and historic times up to 1955. Even after that the cave was used occasionally to by shepherds to shelter their herds right up until the excavations began.

    It is the first time that cave dwelling was recorded in Thessaly during the Palaeolithic period. The stratigraphic sequence of Theopetra extends through three cold periods: during the Middle era circa 25,000 BP (BP being the archaeological term for 'years Before the Present', with the 'present' referring to 1950 when carbon dating was first implemented), during the Upper Palaeolithic, and during the final Upper Palaeolithic period (end of the Pleistocene era).

    The excavations and study of the finds at Theopetra have been conducted since 1987 by the scientific research group of the Ephorate of Paleoanthropology-Speleology, under the direction of Dr. Ekaterini (Nina) Kyparissi-Apostolika. Objects discovered in the cave include stone tools of the Palaeolithic, Mesolithic and Neolithic periods, as well as Neolithic pottery, bone and shell objects, skeletons from 15000, 9000 and 8000 BC, and traces of plants and seeds that reveal dietary habits..

    In March 2009, Kyparissi made an even more important and exciting discovery. Excavations brought to light three human footprints which have been dated to approximately 135,000 BP in the cretaceous period. The find consists of four human footprints in a row, from four individuals believed to have been children.

    The prefecture of Trikala and the municipality of Vassiliki, to which Theopetra belongs, have scheduled a concert featuring well-known musicians/singers Pantelis Thalassinos and Melina Kana on Friday, to celebrate the official opening of the cave to visitors.

    Caption : View of Prehistoric Theopetra Cave in Trikala prefecture ANA-MPA/ VASILIKI PASCHALI

    [03] Simitis not on ballot

    Former prime minister and PASOK party leader Costas Simitis will not run for Parliament in the Oct. 4 elections, it was announced on Friday, after reportedly declining an offer by party leader George Papandreou to head up the party's ticket in Piraeus' first constituency or Athens' first constituency.

    PASOK spokesman George Papaconstantinou said that, in replying to Papandreou's proposal, Simitis responded that he has no interest in any other ballot spot except as the first name on PASOK's State MPs ballot.

    Papaconstantinou explained that, in a telephone conversation between the two men, Papandreou's proposal was not accepted by Simitis, Papaconstantinou said.

    A statement issued later by Simitis' office said that "we were unable to reach agreement".

    The 12 State MPs in the 300-deputy Greek Parliament are not elected by voters, with crosses of preference, but instead gain the seat, on a top-down basis, based on the proportion of the overall vote received by each party in the general election. The top slot on the state ticket for either of the two major parties ensures a seat in Parliament, and is also a prestigious and honorary position.

    Caption: A file photo of former two-time prime minister Costas Simitis. ANA-MPA

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