Location: East of Antiparos
Entrance Orientation: SSW
Entrance Altitude: 171 m asl
Cave Formation: Horizontal
Cave Map: N/A
Main Research Years: 1965; 1968; 14th-30th March 2006
Occupation Eras and Dates: Late Neo I, Late Neo II, Bronze Age
Mavridis, F. 2010. Salvage excavation in the cave of Antiparo, Cyclades: prehistoric pottery and miscellaneous finds. A preliminary report. Aegean Archaeology 9 2007-2008. Studies and monographs in Mediterranean archaeology and civilisation: Ser. 2 Vol. 10. Warsaw: Art and Archaeology. 9-30.
Cave Description: This karst cave is close to the hill of Profitas Elias, close to the centre of the eastern coast of Antiparos - about 9km south of its modern capital.
The interior of the cave slopes down very steeply, with terraces at intervals. It is accessible by a concrete staircase. The entrance to the cave is 20 m wide and under 10 m high. Although there is no notable dripping of water through fissures in the rocks to increase its natural decoration, the cave’s stalagmitic decor is impressive. A central paved yard is located next to the gate to the site. The original roof of the cave once extended over this area but is now collapsed. The interior descends into a main chamber.
Research Chronicles and Data: Recent research excavations were undertaken alongside a programme of visitor related improvements for tourist purposes including repair of damage to the cave. Before the excavations, the cave was recently used as a shepherd's pen.
The main chamber was the only area possible to excavated and was scattered with dispersed surface archaeological material. The collapsed entrance may have contained archaeological strata but is now paved with slabs.
Markovits dug 2 trial trenches in areas 450 and 451 of the cave.cRenfrew (1965) collected sherds from surface and correlated these with Saliagos Culture. Bakalakis (1968) reported not finding any inscriptions but many prehistoric sherds of the Geometric, Archaic and Classical periods.
Salvage excavations in 2006 were focused on defining stratigraphy and character of archaeological remains in the steep area before the entrance to the main chamber. Six trenches were opened and labelled by letters of the Greek alphabet (A-ET). Pottery of the Archaic, Classical and later periods was found with modern material in disturbed upper layers.
Evidence for prehistoric use was found in almost all trenches within layers which contained many boulders. There were some layers of ash and burnt material that contained few remains, mainly animal bones, no clear-cut layer of prehistoric habitation (e.g. floors) were located.
Geological research confirmed excavators interpretation that the sediments were quite disturbed. Thus, typological analysis of pottery finds was used to determine different chronological usages of the cave but the character of the occupation is difficult to establish.
Pottery - 66 rim fragments, 33 body fragments, 26 lugs and other handles, and 5 bases. Sherds were fragmented and conservators were able to join few. Diameters 11-30cm most common.
LateNeo I: white on dark ware with a heavily burnished surface in shades of black-grey and brown. The majority of the sherds are thin-walled and very few seem to belong to vases with thick walls. Open shapes outnumber closed ones but few have been reconstructed. The decoration includes simple motifs in straight lines or bands, there are no curvilinear patterns apart from wavy lines. There are multiple chevrons in various arrangements and the butterfly motif is common - triangles connected at their upper corners, outlined and filled in with white paste. Red and white is a subcategory of the white-painted ware at Antiparos.
Late Neo II: There is no clear distiction between the phases, however, crusted and pattern-burnished wares are common and characteristic of later phase. Pottery with crusted decoration is relatively well-represented by carinated straight-sided conical and rounded bows and a rim fragment of a wide-mouthed vase.
Some stone, clay, bone, and organic finds were found.
Lithics: barbed and tanged points as well as ovate points were found. Retouched blades are present as well as parallel sided ones. There was also a scraper, a flake, a side scraper and a triangular point. Flakes predominate and cores are also present.
Bone: a small group of bone tools were found including a needle and two spatulas. Some bone and shell pieces bear evidence of polishing.
Clay and Stone: conical marble bowls were found made from striated raw material. A spoon fragment preserving part of a rounded lug and its hollow main body.
Faunal Remains: Numerous sea shells and bones of wild and domesticated animals were excavated. Ovis and Capra are almost equally represented also. The preservation of the remains suggest either the carcass was transported to site as a whole or the animals were kept in the cave.
Cave Uses: Agropastoral (A.a) - Reference to burnt and ashy layers with animals bones, few finds, and no floor surfaces suggest that the cave was used for agro-pastoral use i.e. shepherding and penning - possibly seasonally.