Zas Cave is situated on the western slope of the mountain of the same name on Naxos, at an altitude of 628 metres. Excavations (1985-1986) in this spacious cave unearthed a settlement which appears to have been inhabited continuously during the Early (Zas I), Final Neolithic (Zas IIa-b) and Early Bronze Age (Early Cycladic I). This is of special importance to chronology and the study of cultural continuity in the Cyclades from the Neolithic to the glorious Early Cycladic Period (3rd millenium BC).
The economy of the cave's inhabitants was based on the cultivation
of cereals (barley) and pulses (lentils, beans) and on animal husbandry
(sheep and goats). The practice of agriculture has also been confirmed
by fragments of sickles of flint and obsidian. Both obsidian and flint
reached the cave in the form of cores or finished tools. Among the stone
tools, triangular leaf-shaped arrow heads of obsidian as well as blades,
denticulates and awls were found.
From the layers of the Final Neolithic (Zas IIa-b) 4 axes, needles and pins of copper of special importance for the early metallurgy in the Aegean were unearthed. A rectangular, perforated strip of gold, the oldest find of precious metal in the Cyclades, confirms the participation of the residents of the Cyclades in the extensive networks of cultural exchanges of the Aegean during the Final Neolithic. Similar strips have been found at Aravissos in Macedonia, and are related to those from Varna cemetery, Bulgaria.