The native soils of Greece are limited in variety: largely Entisols (Fluvents, Orthents, Psamments), Inceptisols (Xerepts, Andepts, Anthrepts), Alfisols (Xeralfs), Mollisols (Xerolls), Vertisols (Xererts) and Andisols (Food and Agriculture Organization 1981).
These soft sediments of ancient Thessaly, Elis and Messenia weathered to grassland (Xerolls) and cracking-clay soils (Xererts), and remain the principal agricultural resource of Greece.
Both sites, and others sacred to these agricultural deities, have soils with distinctive crumb-structured, thick (> 18cm), dark brown, organic-carbon-rich surface horizons (mollic epipedon) of grassland soils (Xerolls, Figures 4 and 5).
Other kinds of soils such as Fluvents (Figure 5i-k), Xerolls (Figure 5g-h), Anthrepts (Figure 5a-b) and Xerepts form at millennial time scales (Haidouti & Yassoglou 1982), but there is evidence from buried soils at Hestiaia (Figure 5i), Hephaestia (Figure 5j), Eleusis (Figure 5g) and Nemea and Olympia (supplementary information online) that comparable soils formed again and again at the same site after catastrophic burial by floods and landslides, extending back well before Classical times.
In the United States the dominant suborders of Mollisols appear as sequential bands across the country reflecting the moisture regimes in which each Mollisol developed: Albolls, Aquolls, Cryolls, Rendolls, Udolls, Ustolls, and Xerolls (Table 3-5; Figure 3-13).
* Xerolls are Mollisols that form in an environment with a Mediterranean climate (hot, dry summers; cool, wet winters).