The Final Neolithic is the period (4500-3200 BC) when the transition from the Neolithic farming and stock-rearing economy, to the economy of the Early Bronze Age was being prepared while production activities improved and grew with the dissemination of the use of metals. The first working of metals (gold, silver, copper) for jewellery making and tools goes back to the Final Neolithic, also called for this reason Chalcolithic. In Thessaly it is known by the name Rachmani, while in the Cyclades and southern Greece it is referred to as Attika-Kephala culture.
During the Final Neolithic the coastal zones were more densely populated, caves in particular, as well as islands, while in the lowlands certain settlements seem to have acquired considerable economic importance. Settlements were often surrounded by ditches (Dimini), while in architecture, rectangular stone and for the first time apsidal buildings were used (Rachmani).
The more frequent use of caves during the Final Neolithic is linked with particular developments in stock-rearing and an intensification of sea contacts and commercial exchanges. The practice of farming ensured supplies as indicated by the presence of storage jars. In the Cyclades, probably for the first time, the exploitation of lead ore rich in silver has been observed, while the presence of gold and silver jewellery (e.g. ring idol pendants) but also tools (daggers, awls, chisels, spatulas, axes), both in caves and in settlements, is evidence that metalworking was an important activity in many areas of the Aegean.
| Gold strips and schematic figurines, silver earrings (Alepotrypa-Diros)
and copper pins (Sitagroi, Zas Cave on Naxos and Kitsos Cave in Attica),
as well as triangular or leaf-shaped spear heads of obsidian were used
as symbols of social prestige in the Peloponnese and the Aegean islands
and as far as Macedonia. They were owned only by a few indicating that
social structures were undergoing a transformation. 53 gold jewellery
pieces from a treasure hoard possesed by illicit dealers and which are
similar to pieces from Varna cemetery, Bulgaria, (Karanovo VI phase) confirm
that economic and social changes were taking place.
In burial customs, as well as simple burials made, collections of bones and burials in caves (Alepotrypa-Diros) have been discovered, while the organization of cemeteries traced in Kephala on Kea, Tharrounia-Euboea, and Yiali in the Dodecanese, is remarkable.
There was a dramatic increase in monochrome pottery, from rough badly fired clay, with a slip or burnished surface in tones of red, brown and grey black, both in Thessaly and southern Greece and the Aegean and Ionian Islands. Painted pottery with red or white paint covering the vase surface after firing (crusted ware) is typical of Thessaly. Finally, in the manufacture of figurines and jewellery, perfect schematization and abstraction predominated.