Lying close to the coast of Eastern Macedonia, Thasos was inhabited from the Palaeolithic period onwards, but the earliest settlement to have been explored in detail is that at Limenaria where Middle and Late Neolithic remains have been found that relate closely to those of the Drama Plain. In contrast, the remains of the Early Bronze Age on the island align it with the culture that developed in the Cyclades and Sporades to the south in the Aegean. At Skala Sotiros for example, a small settlement was encircled by a strongly built defensive wall. Even earlier activity is demonstrated by the presence of large pieces of 'megalithic' anthropomorphic stelai built into these walls, which, so far, have no parallels in the Aegean area.
There is then a gap in the archaeological record until the end of the Bronze Age c 1100 BC, when the first burials took place at the large cemetery of Kastri in the interior of the island. Here built tombs covered with small mound of earth were typical until the end of the Iron Age. In the earliest tombs were a small number of locally imitated Mycenaean pottery vessels, but the majority of the hand-made pottery with incised decoration reflects connections eastwards with Thrace and beyond.
The island was colonized at an early date by Phoenicians, attracted probably by its gold mines; they founded a temple to the god Melqart, whom the Greeks identified as "Tyrian Heracles", and whose cult was merged with Heracles in the course of the island's Hellenization. The temple still existed in the time of Herodotus. An eponymous Thasos, son of Phoenix (or of Agenor, as Pausanias reported) was said to have been the leader of the Phoenicians, and to have given his name to the island.
Around 650 BC, or a little earlier, Thasos received a Greek colony from Paros. It was in a war the Parian colonists waged with the Saians, a Thracian tribe, that the poet Archilochus threw away his shield. The Greeks