They have been found almost all over Greece. The oldest Neolithic settlement, of an agricultural nature in European territory, was identified outside Veria, in Nea Nikomedia (old Braniata) Imathia and dates back to the 7th millennium BC.
The Neolithic settlement of Nea Nikomedia is located approximately 13 kilometers north of Veria and 2 kilometers north of Nea Nikomedia. The prevailing opinion is that the settlement was located in a bay of Thermaikos gulf or at the edge of a marshy lake - lagoon. This point of view is reinforced by the composition of the soil - subsoil (alluvial soil, with transportable materials, water-borne rocks, shells, etc.). Also, it is confirmed by the fact that the lake of Giannitsa spread out, before it dried up (1935), as old residents of Nea Nikomedia say, some 2 kilometers northwest of the village.
The settlement belongs to the tumba type, i.e. an artificial gulf, the shape of which is the result of continuous human habitation.
It is estimated that the settlement to its northeast, where the sea or lake stretched, had an open horizon. In the other directions there might have been forests and meadows, which was the case even today, up to the 1950s.
Also, the settlement had sunshine and its climate was humid. It is possible that a series of passages started from the settlement, which would facilitate the inhabitants to communicate with other neighboring settlements.
The location of the settlement, in relation to food sources, must have been ideal (fertile land, rich game, abundant fish).
Life in the settlement was interrupted during the Early Neolithic period. It is possible that the settlement was destroyed by a flood, a fire or even by a raid by some people and the inhabitants were forced to migrate to another area. In the New Neolithic Age the settlement was repopulated.
a. The buildings (architectural remains)
A total of 24 stilt buildings, which have a rectangular or square plan, were uncovered during the excavations. One of them has a triangular floor plan.
The walls of these buildings were founded on trenches which were covered with molded clay. The main surface of the walls started from the ground. The walls were made of wooden frames complemented by a mesh of reeds and branches and "plastered" inside and outside with straw mud.
The roofs are estimated to have been (probably) thatched with reeds and supported by stakes (beams).
One of the buildings in the settlement is extremely large (160.68 sq.m.) compared to all the others. The difference in size may indicate a particular use. This building occupies a central position and is identified with a possible "sanctuary".
During the excavations, several pits were found which are estimated to have been created during the extraction of soil for the construction of the houses.
Their pits were used for two purposes: for the disposal of waste and for storage.
The ceramic ovens (kilbans) that were discovered were open (upwards) and had an internal coating of clay. In these ovens, the potters baked the vessels for domestic use, as well as other clay objects (figurines, seals, etc.)
Inside the buildings, they had simple hearths (fireplaces) for cooking and heating.
A large number of vessel fragments came to light which are estimated to correspond to 1115 vessels.
Admirable are the five clay figurines of female figures found in the settlement.
In these figurines the head is rendered as a rod-like knot and without clear facial features. The eyes are slit-like while the nose is large. The neck is rendered high. The arms, which are small in shape, support the highlighted, like hemispheres, breasts. The waist is thin. Thighs and buttocks are expressed with excessive curvature. The legs are (rather) tapered and the soles are little or not pronounced.
The excavations also brought to light well-made seals. The decorative themes (patterns) of the seals include checkered or parallel lines and meanders.
Probably, these seals were used as jewelry (punches). It is also possible that they may have been an indication of ownership. If this is the case, then there is a possibility that there was individual (private) or family property in the settlement.
The archaeological dig brought to the surface important tools and decorative stone objects. Such tools are the two large green stone blades, flint blades (more than 400), graters for grinding grain, spearheads - arrowheads, etc. The tools were made with bones or wooden stems.
The three stone figurines of frogs are particularly beautiful decorative objects. The statuettes were carved in mottled green serpentine. These elaborate figurines of frogs are considered, as archaeologists say, to be among the most important examples of decorative objects from the earliest Neolithic era that have been found.
Spindle parts and textile weights were also found during the excavations. These findings come to strengthen the opinion that the women of the settlement knew how to knit and weave. The weavers should have used, as textile material, the wool (of sheep and goats) and various plant fibers.
The excavations brought to light important worked bone objects. According to the archaeologists, the bones belong to goats, sheep, pigs, as well as aquatic (fish, shells, oysters).
Among the items manufactured were skewers, blades and spatulas for working leather, handles for pickaxes and hatchets, spear points, buckles (belts), needles, pins, periaptas, etc.
Important information is provided by the large number of cereal and pea seeds. These remains are evidence for the cultivation of the land.
Food remains were also found in abundance, bones which came from animals such as sheep, goats, pigs, cattle, but also wild animals such as deer, roe deer, wild boar, hares, etc. I still found remains of seafood such as fish bones and shells.
Editor: Fotini Anastasopoulou