Abstract and Keywords
This article argues that the Cyclades have played a central role in the prehistory of the Aegean. Even in the late Upper Palaeolithic period, before there is evidence of permanent settlement in the islands, the volcanic glass known as obsidian—and very suitable as a raw material for chipped stone tools—was being brought from its principal Aegean source on the island of Melos to Franchthi Cave in the Argolid. From the Neolithic period onward, interactions between the Cycladic Islands and neighboring lands were frequent. The Cyclades were significant in the Archaic period of Greece's civilization. In the Early Bronze Age, the inhabitants of the Cyclades took an active part in the trade and commerce of the time. Cycladic sources of lead and copper were economically significant. The influence of the Early Cycladic cultures was felt in settlements, and notably in cemeteries, in northern Crete and in Attica and Euboea.
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