Greek pipeline workers discover stone age homes

Thu Nov 20, 2008 12:33pm EST
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ATHENS (Reuters) - Archaeologists in central Greece have unearthed the remains of a Neolithic settlement discovered by workers laying a gas pipeline, the Greek Culture Ministry said Thursday.

Ovens and pottery, rare decorated vases and bone tools found at the site near the city of Larissa show that its inhabitants were already skilled artisans nearly 7,000 years ago, the ministry said.

"The site was unknown until works for the installation of a natural gas pipeline started," the ministry said in a statement.

Archaeologists said the red-colored ruins of the houses showed the settlement had burned down. The homes were made of wooden poles, branches and mud.

When they started excavating seven months ago, archaeologists also discovered 15 graves from Hellenistic times in the soil above the settlement.

Last month, researchers in northern Greece unearthed the base of a 58-square-meter Neolithic house.

(Reporting by Renee Maltezou; editing by Andrew Roche)