Anthropomorphic and Zoomorphic Miniature Figures in Eurasia, Africa and Meso-America: Morphology, Materiality, Technology, Function and Context

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The present volume is mainly the result of two symposia held at the European Archaeological Association meetings in Krakow (2006) and Zadar (2007), respectively, which gathered studies on the function, morphology, materiality, technology, ritual, function and context of figurines, whether made of clay, wood, metal, stone, bone or shell. Contents: Introduction: Small Worlds (Dragos Gheorghiu and Ann Cyphers); 1) Beyond Venus figurines: technical production and social practice in Pavlovian portable art (Rebecca A. Farbstein); 2) Dissentions: magnitude, usability and the oddness of Neolithic figures (Christina Marangou); 3) Neolithic ceramic figurines in the shape of a womanhouse from the Republic of Macedonia (Nikos Chausidis); 4) Cult artifacts from the Neolithic and chalcolithic settlement of Leceia, Oeiras, Portugal (Joao Luis Cardoso); 5) The god-dolly wooden figurine from the Somerset levels, Britain: the context, the place and its meaning (Clive Jonathon Bond); 6) Anthropomorphic antler sculptures in Abora Neolithic settlement (lake Lubans wetland, Latvia) (Ilze Biruta Loze); 7) Ritual technology: an experimental approach to Cucuteni-Tripolye chalcolithic figurines (Dragos Gheorghiu); 8) Problems of identity for Mycenaean figurines (Andrea Vianello); 9) Go figure! Creating intertwined worlds in the Scandinavian late Iron Age (AD 5501050) (Ing-Marie Back Danielsson); 10) A cognitive approach to variety in the facial and bodily features of prehistoric Japanese figurines (Naoko Matsumoto and Hideaki Kawabata); 11) Fragmentation practices in central Japan: middle Jomon clay figurines at Shakado (Ilona Bausch); 12) Awaking the symbolic calendar: animal figurines and the conceptualisation of the natural world in the Jomon of northern Japan (Liliana Janik); 13) Can clues from Egypts dynastic period shed light on its predynastic figurines? (Aloisia de Trafford); 14) Artificial cranial vault modification in Olmec figurines: identity, ancestry and politics in early Mesoamerica (Ann Cyphers); 15) The solid terracotta and stone figurines from central region of the Bolanos Canyon in the state of Jalisco, Mexico (Ma. Teresa Cabrero); 16) Figurines in the heart of the Aztec Empire (Cynthia L. Otis Charlton and Thomas H. Charlton).

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Dragos Gheorghiu & Ann Cyphers (Eds.) Anthropomorphic and Zoomorphic Miniature Figures in Eurasia, Africa and Meso-America. Morphology, Materiality, Technology, Function and Context. Oxford: BAR. BAR International Series 2138. 2010. 158 p. text and black-and-white figures and photos.
Anthropomorphic and zoomorphic miniature figurines are among the most important records in prehistory that continue to be an active cultural constructor of memory, interactions, enculturation, socialization and aestheticization till nowadays. Their meaning is a problem for all researchers of prehistory while their cultural value and influence during all epochs including the contemporary world, are core questions for researchers of pop culture, material culture, art, religion, etc.
The monograph edited by Dragos Gheorghiu and Ann Cyphers is a result of an innovative and most valuable approach to anthropomorphic and zoomorphic figurines – building cross-cultural global framework for research and exchange of ideas. It bridges two decades that should completely change the scientific paradigm of study of miniature material culture by creating more adequate and richer models of interpretations.
The monograph includes research on the figurines as records of human sociality (Ann Cyphers), ritual technology (Dragos Gheorghiu, Rebecca A. Farbstein, Ilona R. Bausch ), cultural interactions (Andrea Vianello), performing art (Ing-Marie Back Danielsson), emotions (Naoko Matsumoto and Hideaki Kawabata), etc. Figurines from Mesoamerica, Japan, Romania, Macedonia, Portugal, Great Britain, Latvia, Egypt, Mexico, etc. were analyzed from highly professional perspectives that results in a book with real scholarly value.
Lolita Nikolova, PhD

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Dragos Gheorghiu and Ann Cyphers

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