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History of the research
 
Detection
Paliambela is first mentioned by the archaeologist D. Grammenos who went to the area in an effort to detect and record prehistoric sites. On the basis of some diagnostic surface finds, the site was dated to the Neolithic period (6,500-4,000 BC). The site was visited by a number of researchers, but the essential step for the commencement of the archaeological study was taken by the archaeologists M. Besio and M. Pappa when they declared the site an archaeological area in 1995.
 
Pre-Excavation Survey
The research programme of the excavation at Palimabela Kolindros in Pieria was begun in 1999, when a team from the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki headed by Prof. K. Kotsakis and a team from the University of Sheffield undertook a trial surface survey of the area of the prehistoric site.

The survey was the result of interest expressed by the local authorities, and was funded in the main by the Municipality of Kolindros and the Ministry of Macedonia-Thrace, as well as by the supplementary TEMPER programme which concerns itself with the investigation and management of prehistoric sites.
 
Methodology
The first year of systematic explo- ration was reconnaissance in nature, and included the geophysical survey of the area in order to determine the extent of the settlement and the layout of the buildings. Geophysical survey is a natural method that allows the detection of buried architectural elements and offers the excavator a picture of the form and layout of the site.
Geological samples of the archaeological layers gave an indication of the depth of the archaeological deposits, while a systematic surface collection of material on the mound created the first assemblage of artefacts. The geological sampling, the geophysical survey and the collected finds were combined and analysed using Geographic Information Systems to give a good idea of the finds to come before the excavation had even begun!
 
Findings of the surface survey
On the basis of the surface finds, the site seemed to have been inhabited for about 1,500 years (from 6,000 to 4,500 BC) during the Neolithic period. The geophysical survey produced evidence that during the Late Neolithic (around 4,500 BC) the mound was surrounded by a system of circuit walls and ditches in the mould of Neolithic Dimini. The thickness of the archaeological deposits was on average estimated to be between 1 and 1.5 metres (and in places up to 5 metres thick) and the extent of the finds seemed to cover the whole hill with an emphasis at its top and on the western part of the mound. Sporadic finds indicated that there was activity there towards the end of the Bronze Age (13th-12th centuries BC) and during the Byzantine period (6th-14th centuries AD). Nevertheless, the most extensive finds clearly belonged to the Neolithic settlement. And so it was decided to prepare a systematic excavation programme starting at the points on the mound that produced the most encouraging archaeological indications.
 

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