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Dispilio Village

Welcome to Dispilio!

Dispilio is a village ten minutes from the city of Kastoria. It is a place of major importance and is frequented by thousands of visitors every year who come to admire the Neolithic Lake Settlement reconstruction next to the site where this neolithic settlement was excavated and brought to light.

The prehistoric settlement of Dispilio is situated on the southern shore of Kastoria lake, Orestiada, at the site Nissi (=island). It was located in 1932, when the lake level fell. Systematic excavations (1992 onwards) unearthed the remains of a large lakeside settlement of the Late Neolithic; one of the most important and oldest of its kind in Europe. Excavations at Dispilio constitute a landmark for archaeological investigations in Greece because of the special character of the site and because it permits the study of habitation structures during the Neolithic Period.

The houses of the settlement, circular and rectangular, were built of timber, reed and clay upon timber-post framed platforms. The modern reconstruction of the lakeside settlement provides a wonderful insight into the habitation norms of that period. Among the fauna and flora remains as well as the mobiliary finds from the excavations (pottery, tools, etc.), the whole range of economic activities of the prehistoric inhabitants of Dispilio are represented: farming, animal husbandry, hunting and fishing.

Numerous bone hooks and traces of a boat, identical to those used to this day by the fishermen of Kastoria, is clear evidence that fishing was practiced. Finds such as leaf-shaped and triangular arrowheads of Melian obsidian, pottery similar to that of the neighbouring Balkan areas and a stone ring idol pendant, place the settlement of Dispilio within the exchange networks developed in Greece in particular during the Late Neolithic. Grey pottery of the Tsangli type, black burnished ware of the Larisa type and polychrome painted vessels date to the phases of the Late Neolithic I.

In the late phases of the settlement, black and blacktopped ware predominated, as well as red burnished and painted designs (brown on a light background). Characteristic types of vases were bowls, fruit-stands, closed vases with a neck and clay tables.

Three bone flutes along with a wooden tablet with incised linear symbols reflect the unique cultural aspects of the community at Dispilio. This tablet dates with certainty from 5260 BC. and is not unlikely to be an early form of written speech, as has been assumed about similar symbols incised on clay, discovered at settlements in the southern Balkans (Vinca culture). Please visit our Photo Gallery

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