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Material Culture Laboratory Guest Lecture Series

Yiannis Papadatos, (University of Athens) - The manufacture of Early Cycladic figurines: experimental approaches and archaeological implications
When Mar 09, 2017
from 05:30 PM to 06:30 PM
Where McDonald Institute Seminar Room, Courtyard Building, Downing Street
Contact Name
Attendees All welcome
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Abstract:

The marble Cycladic-type figurines have been traditionally regarded as the hallmark of the material culture that developed in the Cyclades during the 3rd millennium BC. However, most of the parameters related to their manufacture, symbolism and use remain largely unknown, mainly due to the fact that only a small number of figurines derive from proper excavations. For this reason they are often approached as objects of ‘high’ art, detached from their cultural and historic context.

Moreover, because of the lack of sufficient contextual evidence concerning their manufacture, many interpretations are based on untenable hypotheses and unfounded theories about the existence of specialized ‘masters’ or artists, with high technical knowledge and special toolkits, who invested much time and labor for their manufacture.

With the above in mind, a research project started in 2013 involving the experimental manufacture of Cycladic-type figurines with the aim of recording the parameters related to their manufacture of Cycladic-type figurines: the potentials and limitations of the raw materials and the tools, the necessary time and energy, the intermediate stages of the manufacturing procedure, the possible pitfalls and the degree of craft specialization needed for their production. The results of the experiments allow interesting conclusions concerning not only the manufacture of these figurines, but also their role and importance for the small communities of the Early Bronze Age Cyclades.

 

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