Museum of Neolithic Civilization of Diros – Μυθική Πελοπόννησος

Museum of Neolithic Civilization of Diros

Entering the prehistoric cave in Alepotrypa in Diros, visitors can see findings from the excavations that denoted the existence of a large dynamic Neolithic community that lived and prospered inside the cave from 5300 till 3200 B.C. The cave was accidentally discovered in 1958 and was systematically explored for four decades since then by archaeologist G. Papathanasopoulos. The findings of the excavations were truly great, the oldest of which is considered to date back to 6000 B.C.

The exhibition includes Neolithic statuettes, stone and bone tools, ceramic jars, textile tools, weapons, jewelry and other small objects that indicate the wealth and the size of the Neolithic community of Diros. The collection also included bones of animal prey, findings from mass graves and the skeleton of a woman, considered to date back to 3200 B.C., the last years of the inhabitation before the big earthquake that barricaded the cave.

Being in the natural environment of the cave, the museum gives visitors the opportunity to come closer to the lifestyle, everyday habits, ceremonies and artistic expression of the people of the Neolithic Period.

The prehistoric cave of Alepotrypa houses the Museum of Neolithic Civilization of Diros in a unique location relating to the Neolithic Period. The excavation findings of the archaeologist G. Papathanasopoulos indicate that in this particular cave a big dynamic community prospered and evolved into a significant naval and commercial center. In fact, contemporary research reveals that the first findings date back to 6000 B.C.

Entering the visitor sees the layout of the cave as well as a map indicating the most important centers of the Neolithic civilization found in the country.  The first hall presents utensils for everyday use everyday use, like tools and weapons made of stone, bone, cooper, and of the then precious obsidian of Milos, textile tools- bone knitting needles and spindles- ceramic and marble statuettes, jewelry made of bone, stone, silver and various other objects, demonstrate the high standard of living, wealth and size of the Neolithic community of Diros. In the same hall visitors admires the prey bones found inside the cave, bones of oxen, ovine animals, fish and mollusks, while also noting that during the excavations fireplaces, food storerooms and other stone wall constructions were also detected.

In the back of the room, stand ceramic jars in relief with painted decoration, as well as the findings of a mass grave, revealed by the excavations of the archaeologist G.Papathanasopoulos in the ‘90s. These findings date back to the last years before a big earthquake in 3200 B.C. blocked the cave and stopped its inhabitation. In the center of the room the skeleton of a young woman it is displayed, preserved exactly as it was found.

After years of research, it was concluded that Alepotrypa was used in the Early and Late Neolithic Period 5300-3200 B.C. and it had constant habitation for 2500-3000 years. The Greek cavers Ioannis and Anna Petrocheilou located the cave in 1958 and is considered as one of the most important Neolithic caves in Europe. Through this exhibition visitors come closer to the everyday habits, the ceremonies and the artistic expressions of the Neolithic people, acquiring this way holistic idea of the lifestyle of the Neolithic habitant.
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