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Charming Lives: Human and Animal Figurines in the Late Epipaleolithic and Early Neolithic Periods in the Greater Levant and~Eastern Anatolia

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Abstract

Coincident with the processes that led to the development of agriculture and animal domestication, human and animal representations in clay, stone, and plaster were important constituents of the archaeological record across much of the eastern Mediterranean region. The bulk of the evidence comes from the Pre-Pottery Neolithic B (PPNB) period, but there are also important findings from PPNA and the Late Epipaleolithic sites that suggest an increasingly growing concern for the livelihood of expanding human populations in local environments that were becoming more and more influenced by human activities. Nevertheless, significant differences appear in the relative frequencies of animal and human figurines from various parts of the region. For animals there are clear reflections of local faunas, although the iconography is not correlated with the importance of species in their contributions to local diets. As for human depictions, pregnant females indicate the importance of providing future generations, but not all females are portrayed in this condition. Furthermore, where sex can be determined, the proportion of males and females ranges over a considerable span. This study provides a synthesis of research and attempts to explain the variability of these circumstances.

Keywords

  • Natufian
  • PPNA
  • PPNB
  • Levant
  • Anatolia
  • figurines
  • symbols

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Rollefson, G.O. (2008). Charming Lives: Human and Animal Figurines in the Late Epipaleolithic and Early Neolithic Periods in the Greater Levant and~Eastern Anatolia. In: Bocquet-Appel, JP., Bar-Yosef, O. (eds) The Neolithic Demographic Transition and its Consequences. Springer, Dordrecht. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-1-4020-8539-0_15

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