Franchthi Cave

Franchthi Cave

Archaeological site
name = Franchthi Cave
name_local = Σπήλαιον Φράγχθι

caption_skyline = The entrance to the Franchthi Cave with the Paralia in the foreground. Facing south-east. Spring 1997.
country = Greece
region = Argolis
elevation = 5
peak_period = Mesolithic to Neolithic
lat_deg = 37
lat_min = 25
lat_sec = 24
lat_hem = N
lon_deg = 23
lon_min = 07
lon_sec = 56
lon_hem = E

Franchthi cave (or Frankhthi cave, Greek: Σπήλαιον Φράγχθη) in the Peloponnese, in the southeastern Argolid, is a cave overlooking the Argolic Gulf opposite the Greek village of Koilada.

The cave was occupied from the Palaeolithic c. 21,950 BC(and possibly earlier) through the Mesolithic and Neolithic periods, being abandoned about 3000 BC (Middle Neolithic). It is one of the very few settlements in the world that shows continuous human occupation for more than 20,000 years.

It also contains some of the earliest evidence for agriculture in Greece. Around 9,000 BC almonds, pistachios, bitter vetch and lentils all appear at the same time. None appear to be native to the region, two are certainly from Asia Minor. This would seem to indicate that the farming of legumes and nuts preceded that of grain, in Greece, if not Asia Minor at least. This would make this area the oldest known agricultural site in Greece.

Obsidian items from the cave have been traced to the island of Melos 80 miles away by sea, which indicates long-distance sea travel. Around 6000 BC, evidence of domesticated animals and plants (emmer and einkorn wheat) appears in the archaeological record at the cave.


*Farrand, William R. 1999. "Depositional History of Franchthi Cave", Fascicle 12: "Sediments, stratigraphy, and chronology". Bloomington, Indiana: Indiana University Press.

External links

* [ Archeological history of Franchthi Cave]

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