New excavations on the remote island of Keros reveal monumental architecture and technological sophistication at the dawn of the Cycladic Bronze Age. New research on the 4,000-year-old site of Dhaskalio – a giant, gleaming, stepped pyramid – has revealed a range of impressive features, including a complex series of drainage tunnels, and metalwork that was “unusually sophisticated” for the time.
Evidence of metal-working was first discovered at the site 10 years ago and researchers have subsequently found workshops and related objects.
Archaeologists were not aware that the ancient civilization that occupied the site was capable of such feats of engineering, and are continuing their research to find out more about who lived there.
Dr Michael Boyd of the University of Cambridge, one of the directors of the excavation, says it is clear that the site was a focal point for efforts towards metallurgy and other skilled labor:
“At a time when access to raw materials and skills was very limited, metalworking expertise seems to have been very much concentrated at Dhaskalio. What we are seeing here with the metalworking and in other ways is the beginnings of urbanisation: centralisation, meaning the drawing of far-flung communities into networks centered on the site.”
Dhaskalio was previously known for the discovery of thousands of broken marble figurines, dating back 4,500 years, thought to have been used in ritual activities.