On the hill of Knossos, under the ruins of the Minoan palace, was excavated the longest-lived Neolithic installation in Crete. Knossos was the first permanent settlement established in Crete at the beginning of the 7th millennium BC, and remained the largest settlement on the island up to the end of the Neolithic period and during the Bronze Age. The shift towards organised family and communal life was accompanied by productive activities based on agriculture and animal husbandry. The clay vessels of the period were used for preparing, cooking and consuming food and storing goods. Open shapes, like this dark bowl with a handle, dominate in the pottery of the Neolithic period. The surface of the bowl is burnished, meaning that it has been highly polished by rubbing before firing, and is decorated with groups of incised lines. Although generally of limited typological variety, the pottery of the Late Neolithic period reveals some technological development. As we can see from this example, the firing technique and surface treatment gradually improve.