This brief paper presents the main characteristics and relative dating of the Neolithic pottery from the Pelekita Cave, near Kato Zakros in eastern Crete. It is based on the preliminary study of the pottery recovered from both the older (1979, 1982, 1985) and more recent excavations (2014-2015). The area of excavation was concentrated along the back wall of the first chamber (Chamber 1) of the cave. Chamber 1 is rock-shelter-like, open to air and sunlight; the four deeper chambers of the cave were not explored.
The pottery recovered in Chamber 1 is associated with a series of hearths and a semi-circular built feature that was perhaps constructed as a sheep-pen in the south-west corner of the chamber. Most of the pottery has dark-colored surfaces and is well burnished. The vessel shapes and morphological characteristics of handle types and decoration are best paralleled at Knossos (and by extension, Katsambas). In the Knossian chronology (Tomkins 2007), Pelekita can be dated as early as the Early Neolithic and as late as the early Final Neolithic (Tompkin’s FN I), but a more conservative estimate suggests a mainly Late Neolithic date, with perhaps a few pieces dating earlier or later, ca. 5900-4500 / 4000 BC. Parallels can also be found on the mainland, but ones from the Cyclades and Dodecanese are not as useful due to their widely varying relative chronologies. Radiocarbon dates for Pelekita are not yet available and are planned for the future.