According to archaeological evidence, man started settling the Aegean islands in the beginning of the Early Neolithic Age, some 5,300 years ago. The oldest known settlement in the Cyclades was found on the islet of Saliagos, 500 m. (540 yards) from the port of Antiparos, a rock just 100 m (110 yards) long from north to south and 50 m (55 yards) wide from east to west. The level of the sea in the Neolithic Age, though, was at least 6 m (20 ft) lower than today, thus making Saliagos at that remote time just a low, peninsula of the isthmus that used to join Paros to Antiparos. The settlement of Saliagos, traces of which were first discovered in 1961 by curator Nicolaos Zafiropoulos and brought to light in 1964 during excavations directed by British archaeologists John Evans and Colin Renfrew, covers all the area of the island. The settlement, dating back to the late 5th millennium BC, consisted of rectangular houses with stone foundations that were surrounded by a wall. The building of a defense wall is a major work calling for coordinated group effort, a fact that proves the existence in the Cyclades of those conditions that later, in the Early Copper Age, would lead to the construction of cities. The settlement's inhabitants made arrow points and various implements of obsidian. In fact, it seems that the working and trade of obsidian was much more spread than local needs would justify, leading to the conclusion that the settlement of Saliagos probably served as a center for trading with obsidian from the island of Milos. Its inhabitants in prehistoric times were also engaged in fishing, in raising animals, in growing cereals, in pottery-making and basket-weaving.

Other finds from Saliagos include spoons made of mussel shells, many hoes and bone implements, as well as various pots and statuettes. Most of the pots found in Saliagos look like fruit-bowls: they are made of dark-colored clay, have wide rims with straight, round or angled contours, flat bottom or, more commonly, a high stem, and white linear decorative patterns. Famous among the statuettes unearthed in Saliagos is that of the “Obese Lady of Saliagos”, the oldest marble statuette found in the Cyclades. Some of these impressive handiworks are now exhibited in the Museum of Paros.

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