Platia Magoula Zarkou in Thessaly/Greece

Platia Magoula Zarkou, Thessaly (© OREA, E. Alram-Stern)

Platia Magoula Zarkou is a Neolithic and Bronze Age tell settlement in the western Thessalian plain, 30 km west of Larissa. The site was excavated between 1976 and 1990 after the discovery of a Late Neolithic cremation burial cemetery nearby.

The excavation on the tell comprised a stratigraphical trench with four major habitational horizons dating from the late Early Neolithic (ca. 6000 BC), Middle Neolithic and Late Neolithic phases (until the first, Tsangli-Larissa, sub-period) to the Bronze Age. The results were presented in preliminary reports, detailing the pottery sequence, specific pottery wares, faunal and archaeobotanical remains, chipped stone tools, as well as a unique house model. Concerning pottery sequence, the stratigraphic co-existence of pottery originally dated to the first (Tsangli) and the last (Larissa) Late Neolithic subphases decisively changed our understanding of Neolithic chronology. Studies on pottery styles and technology indicated a transition in decoration techniques from the Middle to Late Neolithic periods. Moreover, these studies pointed to the existence of early specialisation in pottery production in the area of Platia Magoula Zarkou.

House model from Platia Magoula Zarkou (© OREA, photo M. Börner)

However, a comprehensive and holistic study of this tell settlement, giving an authentic picture of cultural change during these most prosperous periods of early farming culture in the Thessalian plain, is still lacking. Therefore, this project aims at the final publication of the site, focusing on the study of the stratigraphy and finds with regard to the changes observed from the Early to Late Neolithic, and in particular the transition from the Middle to Late Neolithic. In addition, the Early Bronze Age finds are going to be analysed in a dissertation project and put in a wider cultural framework. The project is furthermore extended by a geophysical prospection of the area around the tell.


  • Giorgos Toufexis (Ephorie für Altertümer Larissa)
  • Kostas Gallis (Democritos-Universität von Thrakien; Ephorie für Altertümer Larissa)
  • Archäobotanische Reste: Glynis Jones (University of Sheffield)
  • Archäometrie: Gerwulf Schneider (Freie Universität Berlin), Areti Pentedeka (OREA), Małgorzata Daszkiewicz (ARCHEA, Freie Universität Berlin)
  • Archäozoologische Reste: Paul Halstead (University of Sheffield)
  • Experimentelle Nachbildung von Keramik: Loe Jacobs (Universität Leiden)
  • Felsgesteinartefakte: Anna Stroulia (University of Southern Indiana)
  • Geologie und Geomorphologie: Riccardo Caputo (Universität Ferrara)
  • Geophysik: Apostolos Sarris (F.O.R.T.H., Institute for Mediterranean Studies Rethymnon)
  • Geschlagene Steingeräte: Catherine Perlès (Université Paris Ouest Nanterre La Défense, CNRS)
  • Geräte zur Textilverarbeitung: Christopher Britsch (OREA)
  • Keramik (Neolithikum): Areti Pentedeka, Christos Batzelas
  • Keramik (Frühbronzezeit): Constanze Moser (OREA)
  • Knochengeräte: Rozalia Christidou (CNRS)
  • Schmuck: Nina Kyparissi-Apostolika (Ephorie für Paläoanthropologie und Höhlenkunde)
  • Statuetten und Geräte aus Ton: Eva Alram-Stern (OREA)
  • Stratigraphie und Raumnutzung: Christos Batzelas (OREA, Ephorie für Altertümer Larissa), Giorgos Toufexis (Ephorie für Altertümer Larissa), Stella Souvatzi (Koç University; British Institute at Ankara), Constanze Moser (OREA)



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  • C. Becker, Die Tierknochenfunde von der Platia Magoula Zarkou: Neue Untersuchungen zu Haustierhaltung, Jagd und Rohstoffverwendung im neolithisch-bronzezeitlichen Thessalien, Prähistorische Zeitschrift 66, 1991, 14–78.
  • C. Becker, The middle Neolithic and the Platia Magoula Zarkou: A review of current archaeozoological research in Thessaly (Greece), Anthropozoologica 30, 1999, 3–22.
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  • K. Gallis, Die Grabungen von Platia Magula Zarkou, Souphli Magula und Makrychori 2. In: E. Alram-Stern, Das Neolithikum in Griechenland, mit Ausnahme von Kreta und Zypern. Die ägäische Frühzeit, 2. Serie, Forschungsbericht 1975–1993, Wien 1996, 521–562.
  • G. Jones, P. Halstead, Charred plant remains from Neolithic-Bronze Age Platia Magoula Zarkou, Thessaly, Annual of the British School at Athens 88, 1993, 1–3.
  • T. H. van Andel, K. Gallis, G. Toufexis, Early Neolithic farming in a Thessalian river landscape, Greece. In: C. Woodward (Hrsg.), Mediterranean Quaternary River Environments, Rotterdam 1995, 131–143.
  • A. Pentedeka, Links of clay in Neolithic Greece: the case of Platia Magoula Zarkou. In: A. Brysbaert (Hrsg.), Tracing prehistoric social networks through technology: a diachronic perspective on the Aegean, London 2011, 106–125.
  • A. Pentedeka, in: Συνέχεις και ασυνέχεις στη νεολιθική κεραμεική της Δυτικής Θεσσαλίας: η περίπτωση της Πλατιάς Μαγούλας Ζάρκου, A. Ainian Mazarakis et al. (eds.), 6th Archaeological Meeting of Thessaly and Central Greece 2015–2017, from Prehistory to the Contemporary Period, 1/3/2018–4/3/2018 (im Druck).
  • G. Toufexis, Ch. Batzelas, B. Weninger, Οικιστική οργάνωση στρωματογραφική ακολούθία και χρονολογικό πλαίσιο της Πλατιάς Μαγούλας Ζάρκου κατά τη νεολιθική περίοδο, in: A. Ainian Mazarakis et al. (eds.), 6th Archaeological Meeting of Thessaly and Central Greece 2015-2017, from Prehistory to the Contemporary Period, 1/3/2018–4/3/2018 (im Druck).