When Were the First People Living in Ancient Greece?

When Were the First People Living in Ancient Greece?

Ancient Greece is known for its rich history and contributions to civilization. But when did people first start living in this fascinating land? Let’s dive into the timeline of ancient Greece and explore the origins of its inhabitants.

The Paleolithic Era

The earliest evidence of human presence in what is now Greece dates back to the Paleolithic era, which began around 2.6 million years ago and lasted until about 10,000 BCE. During this time, early humans were primarily hunter-gatherers, relying on their surroundings for sustenance.

Cave paintings found in various parts of Greece provide valuable insights into the daily lives of these prehistoric people. They depict hunting scenes, animals, and abstract symbols, giving us a glimpse into their culture and artistic expressions.

The Neolithic Era

Around 10,000 BCE, the Neolithic era emerged in Greece. This period marked a significant shift from a nomadic lifestyle to settled communities. People began to domesticate plants and animals, leading to the development of agriculture and animal husbandry.

Archaeological findings from this time include pottery fragments, tools made from stone and bone, as well as remains of houses and villages. These discoveries suggest that ancient Greeks started building permanent settlements during this period.

The Minoans

Between 2700 BCE and 1450 BCE, the Minoan civilization flourished on the island of Crete. The Minoans were known for their advanced architecture, vibrant frescoes, and sophisticated writing system known as Linear A (which remains undeciphered).

Fun fact:

  • The Minoans were named after King Minos, a legendary ruler of Crete.
  • They had an elaborate palace complex at Knossos, which featured labyrinthine corridors.
  • The Minoans engaged in extensive trade with other Mediterranean civilizations, leaving behind traces of their influence across the region.

The Mycenaeans

Following the decline of the Minoans, the Mycenaean civilization emerged on mainland Greece around 1600 BCE. This period is often referred to as the Late Bronze Age.

The Mycenaeans were skilled warriors and traders who built impressive fortified cities. Their civilization thrived until around 1100 BCE, when it faced a mysterious collapse believed to be caused by internal conflicts and external invasions.


Ancient Greece’s history is deeply rooted in its earliest inhabitants. From the Paleolithic era to the rise and fall of civilizations like the Minoans and Mycenaeans, people have been living in this region for thousands of years.

Exploring these ancient cultures not only helps us understand our past but also sheds light on how they laid the foundation for Greek society as we know it today.