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Caverns
Theopetra Cave
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The cave Theopetra is located at the northwestern edge of the plain of Thessaly, 3 km south of the city of Kalambaka. The deposits of the cave are the most complete sequence of archaeological deposits that have been found so far in Greece, stretching from the Middle Paleolithic to the Neolithic era and presenting a unique sequence of alternating natural and man-made events.

 

History

The cave Theopetra was inhabited by both the Mesolithic and the Neolithic man. Archaeological findings  indicate human presence in historic times also.

The exploration of the cave Theopetra started in 1987 and completed in early 2000. Today, the restoration and development projects of the cave have been completed and the entire cave is open to the public.

 

Description - formation of the cave

The cave Theopetra is located in a rocky hill, at the foot of Mount Antichasia at an altitude of 280 meters above the sea. In front of the cave flows the Lithaios river, a tributary of Pineios river. Just a few miles at the North stand the Meteora hills.

The cave has been formed in carbonate rocks due to the dissolving action of groundwater. The cave consists of a single chamber of approximately 500 sq.m. The elliptical entrance of the cave is 3 meters tall and 17 meters wide. The cave Theopetra is not a typical cave with rocky formations such as stalactites, stalagmites etc.

 

Archaeological findings

The cave Theopetra is an important monument of greek cultural heritage because it presents evidence of human habitation from the Middle Paleolithic era (130,000 years ago) until the end of the Neolithic Age (5,000 years ago).

The archaeological findings were buried in undisturbed deposits of the cave. Among the findings,  are included objects such as stone and bone tools, pottery and shells, jewelry and fossils of humans and animals (fossils, traces, prints). A human skeleton 10,000 years old was found in Theopetra cave. The set of findings attest the importance of the cave as a place where the transition from Neanderthal man in Homo sapiens is scientifically documented.

Apart from the archaeological importance of the cave, the layers of undisturbed deposits provide important information on the geomorphological evolution, stratigraphy, paleoenvironment and the climatic conditions of the region. In these layers, events have been recorded of the glacial and interglacial periods.