Name: Antoniadou Annita
Title/Affiliation: PhD Candidate, School of Geography, Archaeology and Palaeoecology, Queen's University Belfast
Title: The Epipalaeolithic identity expressed through the perforated shell-beads from Haua Fteah cave in Cyrenaica, Libya
Personal ornamentation is a strong indicator of social identity in many cultures past and present. Whereas the physical body is absent from the archaeological record, material culture such as ornaments acknowledges the embodied identities of the people. Though the majority of archaeological prehistoric shell-bearing sites appeared worldwide mostly over the Holocene period, recent discoveries in the Near East and North Africa, seem to favor an early emergence of personal ornamentation by Anatomically modern humans. This author presents an original case from Cyrenaica, NE Libya, where small, shiny, marine shell-beads and bead-blanks were recovered from Early Upper Palaeolithic/Capsian occupational layers in the Haua Fteah cave ranging from Last Glacial Maximum and into the very early Holocene. A similar bead-blank was also found in Capsian levels in another cave in same the region. The rather uniform but often beach-rolled specimens clearly suggest human selection and rule out food uses, whilst the deliberately perforated shell-beads suggest a strong cultural social and individual identity for these prehistoric people. The progressive replacement of cylindrical shell-beads (Antalis sp.) by drop-shaped shell-beads (Columbella sp.) over time points to a change in stylistic preferences among the prehistoric group concerned at the Haua Fteah cave and a dynamic relationship between bodies and cultural artefacts in this Eastern Mediterranean region. Following the 8.1 ka event, Neolithic assemblages at both Cyrenaican caves do not contain shell-beads. It may be that group identity was expressed in different ways, or that a different group of people used the sites. This paper argues how the presence as well as the absence of these tiny artefacts contributes to our knowledge on social organization and human identity of prehistoric Eastern Mediterranean.
Name: Aulsebrook Stephanie
Title/Affiliation: PhD Candidate, Department of Archaeology and Anthropology, University of Cambridge
Title: Beyond the Prestige Object: Experiencing Mycenaean Metal Vessels
Individuals are able to interact with material culture by myriad means, but it is only through the body that physical engagement is possible. Vessels are within an important class of material culture that has a significant metaphorical association with the body whilst retaining a distinct detachment from it. This separation compared with jewellery or clothing enables greater flexibility in the conveyance of meaning. The mutually reinforcing relationship between humans and objects is evident in vessels by the ways in which they are shaped to fit the constraints of the body and yet also intended to elicit certain behaviours and forms of performance. Feasting itself intimately involves the body making it a particularly significant social and political arena in which vessels are utilised; moreover, there are many other contexts of use such as lighting and food preparation also requiring physical engagement between human and object that are often overlooked.
I will use the opportunity of a re-examination of the metal vessels used during the Late Bronze Age on the Greek mainland to explore the interaction between material culture and the body. As this period covers the initial signs of an emergent elite through to the establishment of the Mycenaean palatial social systems it provides the prospect of investigating temporal and regional variation. In line with recent theoretical approaches, I emphasise the different sensual experience that metal vessels provide in comparison to other materials also in use during this period. The role that these objects played in creating social identity is often relegated to the overall category of "prestige object"; by studying such aspects as audience, sensory stimulation, and behavioural performance I shall demonstrate how and why metal vessels were able to be used by past elite agents to communicate effectively the social messages they needed to convey.
Name: Bennet John
Title/Affiliation: Professor of Aegean Archaeology Archaeology, University of Sheffield
Title: How big is a life-sized griffin? Scale and bodily representation in the Bronze Age Aegean.
It is well known that there are no life-size or larger than life three-dimensional representations of humans in the Bronze Age Aegean, unlike in other circum-Mediterranean societies. Nevertheless, humans (and other animals -- real and imaginary) are represented at various scales and in various media. Only in wall-painting do human figures and animals sometimes appear at life-size, when fixed on the walls of rooms or in procession on corridors. Most other representations, on wall-paintings and in three-dimensions and relief, are at smaller scales. Humans are rarely represented on ceramics, however, until the later Mycenaean periods, notably on kraters, often found in Cyprus.
This paper grapples with the issue of the scale of human and animal representation by attempting to identify patterns in representations at various scales and on various media before moving to suggest possible cultural rationales for the lack of life-size or monumental human sculpture and for the preponderance of representation at smaller scales.
Name: Bolger Diane
Title/Affiliation: Dr, Research Fellow, School of History, Classics and Archaeology, University of Edinburgh
Title: Re-making the self: bodies, identities and materialities in Chalcolithic Cyprus
This paper considers some of the ways in which communities of the late 4th and 3rd millennia BC in Cyprus constructed and transformed their identities through the medium of mortuary ritual. Some of these changes can be observed through a comparison of traditional mortuary programmes of the Middle Chalcolithic period, characterized mainly by individual pit burials situated intramurally, with those of the Early and Middle Cypriot periods, which feature collective burials in chamber tombs located in discrete cemeteries away from settlements. It is argued, however, that the initial stages of this transformative process took place already during the Middle Chalcolithic period when collective, multi-stadial burial rituals involving the careful arrangement bodies in varying stages of articulation and decay were enacted within the island's earliest known extramural burial precincts. An equally important indicator of changes in social identity during the Chalcolithic is furnished by the cessation, shortly after c. 3000 BC, of a centuries-long tradition of manufacture and use of anthropomorphic cruciform figurines and pendants, many of which were used in life prior to being buriedl with their owners. The demise of anthropomorphic imagery, as well as the adoption of new types of personal ornamentation inspired from abroad, suggests a deliberate re-construction of social identities at this time, and coincides with evidence for more intensive levels of interaction between Cyprus and its mainland neighbours. A focus on bodily experience enables us to explore the links between mortuary practices, materiality, kinship, and social identity during the 3rd millennium B C; it also sheds important light on the ways in which local Cypriot populations transformed their identities through involvement with communities of the surrounding regions.
Name: Bushnell Lesley
Title/Affiliation: PhD Candidate, Institute of Archaeology, UCL, London
Title: Big brands in the Bronze Age: Decorative containers of precious commodities and their role in constructing social identity.
Today big name branded products, from the right trainers to the latest smart phones or celebrity-endorsed fashion, are all about display. Modern theory on branding and advertising explores the consumption of brands in the creation of social identity but such theory can also be applied to consumption of various products in Bronze Age society. Examples include precious commodities such as perfumed oil which played a big role in life and death rituals throughout the eastern Mediterranean. We know from texts that they were used for anointing people, armies, kings and gods, but it is archaeological evidence that has shown that their most widespread usage was in funerary rites, to adorn, anoint or accompany the body. Their consumption, and in particular, the display of such consumption seemed to have had a role in the construction and/or confirmtion of group identity. In this respect, the distinctive shapes and decorative designs of the containers were crucial; these small, narrow-necked juglets may well have acted as brands. Illustrative case studies of how juglet commodities were targeted at and sought after by different social groups are discussed in light of theoretical considerations on group identity.
Name: Chapin Anne
Title/Affiliation: Associate Professor of Art History and Archaeology, Art Department, Brevard College, Brevard, USA
Title: The Performative Body and Social Identity in the Room of the Fresco at Mycenae
Excavations undertaken in 1968-1969 in the Cult Center at Mycenae, in prehistoric Greece, revealed an extraordinary fresco composition in a corner of what has come to be known as the "Room of the Fresco." The room belonged to a small temple or shrine built in LH IIIB1; its cult function is recognizable from its architectural features, ritual finds, and an altar-like platform frescoed with a beam-end frieze topped with Minoan-style horns of consecration. Above the platform, two standing female figures are painted facing each other in a columned setting: one wears a fringed robe, the other, a Minoan-style flounced skirt. Opposite this decoration, on a lower level, a female figure raises flame-like sheaths of grain in an apparently votive gesture. Her costume – a plumed cap, a short-sleeved garment, and a knotted mantle – distinguishes this figure, as does the guardian animal beside her. The identities of these three figures remain the subject of continuing debate in academic discourse. This investigation sheds new light on the fresco by examining how the body, via adornment, shapes and communicates social identity in Mycenaean art and culture. More specifically, these female bodies, each distinguished by costume and attribute, embody separate but related identities that convey significant information about social status, ethnicity, gender, and age in Mycenaean culture. The fresco is then investigated through the lens of performance. Iconographic evidence for votive performance is synthesized with surviving archaeological evidence for ritual in the Room of the Fresco. It is suggested that the fresco in its performative context may depict a member of the Mycenaean elite paying homage to two deities, while concomitantly, all three figures (divine and royal) likely received votive offerings from the ancient people who attended the shrine.
Name: Christakis Kostas
Title/Affiliation: Lecturer (Visiting), Department of Primary Education, University Of Crete
Title: Pot Marking in Potters' Views
Inscribed symbols on the surfaces of ceramic containers in Bronze Age Crete, commonly known as "potter's marks", have stimulated various interpretative theories regarding their nature. Mostly they are associated with the identification of distinct potting traditions. One such set of potters' marks from the site of Syme, Viannos Crete is discussed here from the perspective of those engaged in the practice of marking.
Micro-analytical study combining methodologies from semiotics and graphology with technical considerations for the inscribed vessels themselves indicates that the potters under discussion reproduced the same types of marks on the same types of pots made with the same technology, yet in singular ways.
I will argue that the deliberate and systematic act of using distinguishing details while marking the pot, as opposed to a mechanistic repetition, outlines the purpose to safeguard individuality. What was essentially a technology of production was transformed into a technology of representation, the represented object being the producer himself. And what was a skillful craft was ultimately experienced on behalf of the potters as art; a creative art that together with social demands, tradition and ideology, also incorporated a personal need to express the self.
An embodied perception of the practice of marking brings into play the emotional state of the potter while he/she incised the pot (memories evoked of the relative/teacher who introduced them to pottery-making, feelings of success and accomplishment or, in contrast, pressure and angst etc) as well as the joint sensual and cognitive experience, by which the human need manifested throughout time to identify one's product with him/ herself was materialized. It is also likely that this specific expression of individuality was understood through vision and touch and thus recognized by the consumers of the inscribed pots within the local context discussed.
Name: Elefanti Paraskevi1 & Panagopoulou Eleni2
Title/Affiliation: 1 Dr, Ephorate of Palaeoanthropology and Speleology of Southern Greece, Post-doctoral Fellow, Department of History and Archaeology, Aristotle University of Thessaloniki
2 Ephorate of Palaeoanthropology and Speleology of Southern Greece
Title: Gatherings, bodies and lithics: Social interactions at the Middle Palaeolithic site of Lakonis I cave, southern Peloponnese, Greece
Despite the theoretical advances of the last decades and their emphasis on socially oriented interpretations of the material record, Palaeolithic archaeology appears to favor more processual processes, leaving little room for the study of the individual. The latter is often regarded as beyond the resolution of the archeological record of the period and therefore initiatives, decisions and efforts by individuals can only be inferred from the success or failure of the organization system within which these processes were embedded. The approach which centers the role of individuals and their social identity at the heart of Palaeolithic theory is known as the "bottom up approach". The shift of our scale of analysis from the group to the level of the individual is based on the desire to know more about those who create society through their biological and cultural interactions.
This paper discusses the archaeology of a hearth complex at the Middle Palaeolithic cave site of Lakonis I in the southern Peloponnese. Hearths served as spatial as well as cultural foci, which embodied social practices in a routine way. During their interaction around these features, individuals created personal ties and negotiated their relationships through the use of appropriate resources, of which chipped stone artefacts are one. Although associated with daily activities, tool production encompassed a variety of processes including the creation of personal and group awareness and knowledge, and the development and transfer of skills and identity. Particular emphasis is placed on in-situ knapping episodes as verified by conjoins and refits. Using the concepts of fragmentation and consumption, these episodes will be discussed in terms of individuals and objects within networks of relationships.
Name: Fox Sherry1, Winkelmann Christine2, Gamble Michelle3, Konstantinou Loukas4
Title/Affiliation: 1 Director, Wiener Laboratory, American School of Classical Studies at Athens
2 University of Münster
3 Dr, University of Newcastle
4 Dr, Greek Anthropological Society
Title: Polydactyly in Chalcolithic Figurines from Cyprus
As art often depicts reality, representations of polydactyly in figurines dating to the Chalcolithic period from western Cyprus, may demonstrate that the condition existed among early Cypriots. Figurines formed from limestone, picrolite, and clay with an inordinate number of digits, were rendered by ancient artists on the island. Figurines with both extra fingers and toes have been identified in the archaeological record. This paper aims to document the variations in the number and location of the digits present in ancient art from western Cyprus and explores possible interpretations of what these extra digits may have meant within this population. The incidence of polydactyly among modern people from the region is also discussed. This condition is observed among living Cypriots. Angel (1972) noted polydactyly among 20th century villagers from Episkopi in the Limassol District, and "Exadactylos" is a family name among the islanders. The Chalcolithic figurines have been linked to fertility and other possible ritual practices and social status. Does this represent a correlation between polydactyly and these aspects of society? Can the status of these polydactylous figurines, and hence the possible status of an individual with the condition, be interpreted from their context? Although polydactyly may never be identified among human skeletal remains from an archaeological context on the island, it likely existed then as it does today, based upon the enduring remnants of the past depicted in Chalcolithic figurines.
Name: Fox Sherry1 and Kopanias Kostas2
Title/Affiliation: 1 Director, Wiener Laboratory, American School of Classical Studies at Athens
2 Lecturer, Department of Archaeology and History of Art, National and Kapodistrian University of Athens
Title: Headshaping at Tell Nader
The Chalcolithic site of Tell Nader is located in Erbil within the Kurdistan region of northern Iraq. A single primary inhumation burial was revealed during the 2011 field season from a simple circular cist grave lined with clay, tiles and stone. A middle-aged adult female was recovered from this context. She was found in a prone position with forearms folded and legs flexed. Her head was oriented toward the west and her legs were positioned to the east. In addition to exhibiting evidence for having survived at least one episode of stress early in life based upon the presence of dental linear enamel hypoplasias, this individual also demonstrates a healed depressed fracture from blunt force trauma to the right parietal of the cranial vault. Furthermore, a type of cultural modification of the body in the form of headshaping had been practiced by binding her head in infancy. This type of headshaping is commonly observed among females from the cultural sphere of the Ubaid in both time period and general region, although the reconstruction of the placement of the bindings does not exactly follow the standard "Byblos a" type proposed by Özbek (1974). It is possible that a variation in the type of headshaping was practiced in the north and a new reconstruction of the positioning of the bindings is proposed. It should be noted that these results are preliminary as they are based on only one individual who led an apparently challenging life. Future excavations could help to clarify the practice of headshaping at Tell Nader.
Name: Galanakis Yannis
Title/Affiliation: Dr, Curator for the Aegean Collections and the Sir Arthur Evans Archive, Ashmolean Museum, University of Oxford
Title: From body to no-body? Embodied identities & the performance of fire rituals in the Late Bronze Age Aegean
This paper explores the physical body as a social body. In particular, it looks at the transformation of the individual body into a collective body through the practice and performance of 'fire rituals' in Late Bronze Age Aegean tombs. When and where are these 'fire rituals' attested? How are they performed? What is their significance? Why did they appear in the first place? By exploring the multi-faceted role of 'fire rituals', the paper aims to discuss a number of theoretical, methodological, and practical aspects associated with the manipulation of individual and collective bodies as a means for embedding identities and for negotiating memories, emotions, and the present with the not-so-distant 'ancestral' past.
Name: Galli Eirini
Title/Affiliation: Archaeologist, Archaeological Museum of Heraklion, Crete
Title: Burying sediments building up identities in early bronze age tholos tombs of Crete
In the surviving material record of Crete, the beginning of Early Bronze Age is marked by an unprecedented increase in visible forms of burial. This intensified interest in the materiality and theatricality of death resulted in the formation of a rich burial record, which constitutes the bulk of our knowledge of this period in Crete. The continuous use and construction of distinct tomb types throughout the whole 3rd millennium BC, seems to have taken the form of a structured repetition. This burial "tradition", though, has masked in a refined and subtle way the expected materialization of the undergoing societal changes, which eventually allowed the so-called prepalatial/protopalatial transition in the end of the Early Bronze Age. An embodied perspective of mortuary practices enables us to approach the dynamic processes that lie beneath the opaque layer of what is perceivable as a static condition resulting from ritual. On this basis, I intend to explore burial practices as embodied experience situated in specific temporal and spatial contexts, breaking through the homogenizing notion of continuous use. The evidence that will be assembled and discussed comes from the cases of Early Minoan tholos tombs with datasets that include informed comments on stratigraphy. The rationale behind this is that stratigraphic sequence of tholos tombs will be approached through two routes: as a factor regulating movement in space, and as cognitive scaffolding for the communities that create them. An underlying proposition of the present paper, is that differentiated patterns of access during burial performance, are not merely an adjustment to the physical attributes of built space, but also co-emerge with changes in the conceptual perception of time and identity. In that light, changes in kinesthetic experience of burial space appear to be directly tied to the mechanisms employed by communities, in order to cope with the utterly changed economic landscape of Crete during the end of the Early Bronze Age.
Name: Georgiou Giorgos
Title/Affiliation: Dr, Department of Antiquities, Cyprus
Title: Picrolite and other stone beads and pendants: New forms in an old material during the transition from the Chalcolithic to the Cypriote Bronze Age
The transition from the Chalcolithic to the Bronze Age is marked by profound changes in the structure of the economy and society of Cyprus. These changes are so radical that theories for an influx of new populations in the island have been supported. Among the material innovations visible in the archaeological record of the Early Cypriote Bronze Age, is a special group of artefacts made of picrolite, a peculiar indigenous stone. In the new era, picrolite was used to produce beads and pendants in forms appearing for the first time on the island. As picrolite was also used during the Chalcolithic period for the manufacture of small figurines and other symbolic artefacts, its renewed symbolic use in a new social context deserves special attention. The persistence of picrolite in a radically new social environment, as a valued material of symbolic power may be used to investigate the relations between newcomers and indigenous populations during this transitional period. Picrolite continued to be used as an extension of the human body denoting social identity, during a period that is characterized by discontinuities. This element of continuity might be indicative of the role of the indigenous Chalcolithic people during the Bronze Age.
Possible techniques for the manufacture of artefacts of picrolite and other stone will also be discussed in this paper, in an attempt to set the problem in the wider technological and social context.
Name: Girella Luca 1 & Todaro Simona 2
Title/Affiliation: 1 Assistant Professor, Università Internazionale Telematica Uninettuno, Facoltà di Lettere, Rome
2 Assistant Professor, Università di Catania, Dipartimento di Scienze Umanistiche, Catania, Italy
Title: Secondary burials and the construction, performance and communication of group identities in the eastern Mediterranean between the IIIrd and the beginning of the IInd millennium BC: a pilot study.
Secondary burial is a complex multi-stage practice that involves the deliberate manipulation of the skeleton through the disarticulation and/or amputation of parts and their re-location and definitive deposition in different contexts, and has long been considered to be a necessary step through which the deceased achieved the status of ancestor. In the last twenty years, however, several scholars have argued that its ultimate aim was the creation of intergenerational memory that, in turn, might have been functional to the creation and maintenance of social relationships.
Aside from problems of interpretation, this particular treatment of the human body also raises problems of recognition depending not only on the strategies of manipulation adopted, which might facilitate or hinder their identification as deliberate actions, but also on the type of tombs used. Indeed, the manipulation of human bones in tombs that were used for multiple burials over long periods of time has generally been considered to be an unplanned action that was functional to the creation of space for the newly deceased.
In this paper we will focus on several funerary contexts from the Greek mainland and Crete dating between the III and the beginning of the II millennium BC and will argue (1) that the disarticulated skeletons recorded in the collective tombs of the III millennium need to be regarded as secondary burials, i.e. as the outcome of deliberate actions aimed at creating and/or maintaining social identities; and (2) that the shift from collective to individual burials recorded in the course of the II millennium BC mirrored a substantial change in the strategies through which the communities were constructing, performing and communicating their social identities.
Name: Goula Dimitra
Title/Affiliation: Archaeologist at 25th Ephorate of Classical and Prehistoric Antiquities
Title: Thoughts on the funerary use of the EBA Cycladic painted figurines
Funerary use of the EBA painted Cycladic figurines has been extensively studied, offering a surfeit of interpretations often overbalanced, revisited or criticized. This paper aims to formulate some thoughts concerning possible meanings of the EBA Cycladic figurines in a burial context. Lack of adequate contextual information often results in conflict between archaeological data and conjectures, or parallelisms derived from other unconnected cultures. Nevertheless, various theoretical approaches have been mobilized in order to enlighten aspects of the associated mortuary material culture (obsidian, pigments, needles, bone tubes) towards a ritualistic ornamentation of the statuettes, or the bodies of the deceased, through painting or body modification.
Employing the physical body as well as social identity as reflected on representations of the individual, this paper examines possible meanings of Cycladic figurines, exploring three aspects: (1) possible meanings that may be attributed to their painted details (2) their relevance to the funerary ritual, and (3) a possible memory policy intended by means of specific painted patterns on the body of the figurine.
A hypothesis is developed here, based on contextual study of the figurines in a mortuary environment and their iconography. More specifically, iconographic attributes find counterparts derived from the associated mortuary material culture, pointing towards a conscious intended use of specific patterns in order to reproduce a meaningful concept which was understood by individuals in the same social context. By extension, and on this basis, the meaning of body ornamentation/modification will be looked at from the perspective of the living and the practice of the funerary ritual. Likewise, painting on figurines will be examined as a means of creating a memory link between the painted figurine and the deceased. Discussion will explore representation as conveyor of embodied identities and how immediate or indirect they can be. Are specific ways of representation imposed by the social context, and is it possible to trace a representation as an option of the individual's experience?
Name: Hatzaki Eleni
Title/Affiliation: Assistant Professor, Department of Classics University of Cincinnati
Title: Spatial and Temporal Variability in Identity and Representation within the Bronze Age Cemeteries of Knossos, Crete.
The rich and varied mortuary data from the Knossos valley, which span from the Prepalatial to the Postpalatial periods, have been central to the discussion of the political and social structures of Bronze Age Crete. The Final Palatial period has received special attention since variability in mortuary datasets has been interpreted as an expression of ethnic identity ('Minoan' vs 'Mycenaean') or as experimentation triggered by the changing political situation centred at Knossos. Within such frameworks variation in the choice of cemetery, type of tomb and artefactual assemblages has been viewed as arbitrary and restricted in labelling tombs as artefactually 'rich' or 'poor'. In this paper I argue that in the mortuary arena social identities were specific and carefully 'staged' through the manipulation of material culture. Spatial variability in mortuary datasets suggests that certain social identities are linked to specific combinations of artefacts in assemblages, funerary architecture (i.e. types of tombs), and cemeteries. Temporal variability offers a diachronic perspective on changing emphasis in identity and representation, which can be linked to the changing political situation at Knossos diachronically. The presence or absence of specific artefacts in mortuary contexts is juxtaposed to assemblages from urban contexts. Beyond Knossos, mortuary data will be tested for the identification of comparable spatially and temporally varied identities, while acknowledging the role of regional diversity, associated with the presence or absence of Knossianizing elements in the mortuary systems with special reference to Final Palatial and Postpalatial Crete.
Name: Knox Daisy
Title/Affiliation: PhD candidate, University of Manchester
Title: Figurines and Complex Identities in Bronze Age Cyprus
Figurines are frequently seen on book covers and conference posters, chosen as enticing images to illustrate distant, prehistoric societies and the people who would have inhabited them. It is, of course, impossible to view even anthropomorphic figurines as simple images of these ancient people. Nonetheless, systematic and logical investigation of these objects can reveal a far more complex, but equally engaging picture of the physical and ideological, individual and group identities of the people who made them. This paper, born out of doctoral research into the c.1800 figurines which survive from the entire Cypriot Bronze Age, seeks to demonstrate the great potential figurines hold for investigations into these "embodied identities". It will concentrate predominantly on anthropomorphic figurines, including major types such as the Early-Middle Bronze Age Plank Figurines and the Flathead and Earring types, commonly referred to as Astarte Figurines, from the Late Bronze Age. These will be examined on the premise that anthropomorphic figurines represent physical manifestations of symbolic, idealised bodies, inspired by real, familiar, contemporary humans and used in practices, such as funerary rites, which would have involved the negotiation of group identity and status. Themes which this paper will address include: the possible relationship between the physical appearance of figurines and actual practices of bodily modification and physical display used in the presentation of individual identity; taking a diachronic view of Cyprus across the Bronze Age, what social factors may have caused anthropomorphic imagery to become more or less popular in particular periods; and finally what the interplay of different, contemporary anthropomorphic figurine types within Cyprus may imply about the coexistence of conflicting social identities within the same sites.
Name: Legarra Herrero Borja
Title/Affiliation: Dr, Leverhulme Early Career Fellow, School of Archaeology and Ancient History, University of Leicester
Title: Pickled bodies: funerary jars and new social identities in Middle Bronze Age Crete
Just before the fully developed palaces on Crete appeared at the beginning of the Middle Bronze Age, many important changes occurred on Cretan burial customs. Amongst the most noticeable it is the appearance of pithos burials in the record. Many of these present the first distinct individual burials in 1000 years of Cretan prehistory. For first time bodies were interred as clearly defined entities as opposed to the communal burials that monopolised burial customs in the Early Bronze Age. Such evidence has been used to argued changes in the social identities of Cretan societies that paved the way for state formation on Crete, particularly as it has been related to the creation of a new individualistic ideology. This paper will investigate the archaeological evidence of the pithos burials on Crete at the beginning of the second millennium BC –when and where did they appear, in which contexts and how did they relate to other new burial customs– in order to gain a more accurate interpretation of the meaning behind this new way of disposing the body. The suggestion of a new individualistic identity at the beginning of the Middle Bronze Age will be shown to rely on modern western assumptions rather than on an accurate investigation of the archaeological record and it will be replaced with a model that acknowledges the role of the body in creating new communal identities in the funerary domain. Moreover, these new identities will be shown to be crucial for gaining a better insight in the peculiar character of state formation on Crete.
Name: Lorentz Kirsi
Title/Affiliation: Dr, Science and Technology in Archaeology Research Center (STARC), The Cyprus Institute
Title: Grasping identity: Theoretically informed human bioarchaeology in the Eastern Mediterranean
The body forms a current focus of intense research both in the humanities and sciences, and is one of the main preoccupations of contemporary popular culture and social discourse. While the physiology of the body has a long history of research, the focus on cultural construction of bodies is of more recent origin. This paper aims to address a range of themes reflecting the close relationship between human culture and biology, body and society. The focus is on the relationships between the physical body and socio-cultural practices, aspects of which can be identified in the skeletal record. The paper will explore new, theoretically informed research agendas relating to the body, understood both as biological and cultural entity, and the role of biological anthropology and bioarchaeology in the investigation of the socio-cultural body and the body politic. Advances, problems and potential in these domains of research within the Eastern Mediterranean will be discussed, with specific reference to embodied identities.
Name: Mikrakis Manolis
Title/Affiliation: Dr, Contract Archaeological Officer, Department of Antiquities, Cyprus
Title: "It's war, not a dance": polarising embodied identities in the eastern Mediterranean from the end of the Bronze Age to the Early Iron Age
After the collapse at the end of the Bronze Age, most parts of the eastern Mediterranean experienced the rise of new forms of statehood, for which new social identities were essential. Different threads of archaeological, visual and textual evidence especially from the Aegean, Cyprus and the Levant point to ritualised behaviours revolving around eating and drinking, body movement and music making, beauty maintenance, sport and sexuality as dynamic newcomers to established definitions of personal achievement and social status through warfare or the supernatural. In the same sources, uneasiness on the part of traditional elite groups over the assignment of social, cultural and ethical value to such delights is a recurring theme. The present paper explores how feasting practices and socio-political structures shaped one another in the rapidly changing world of the Mediterranean Early Iron Age. It is argued that the growing emphasis on luxurious leisure activities, during which exotica were also displayed and used, marks the emergence of new elite groups that based their claims to authority on the conspicuous consumption of wealth accumulated through commercial enterprises. It is argued, moreover, that contradistinctive representations of feasting and warfare or religion in the archaeological, visual and textual record of this world reflects the social tensions and ideological conflicts that punctuated the way to an entirely new social order and political geography in the eastern Mediterranean.
Name: Mina Maria
Title/Affiliation: Dr, University of Cyprus
Title: Dressed to impress: metal objects, anthropomorphic representations and the construction of embodied identities in Early and Middle Bronze Age Cyprus
Dress represents a layer that plays an active role in the construction and embodiment of social identity, while at the same time it envelops the body in layers of socially meaningful messages. An embodiment approach to attire-related metal objects and anthropomorphic figurines of the Early and Middle Bronze Age aims to elucidate how social identity was constructed, embodied and communicated in prehistoric Cyprus through dressing and adorning the body. Metal objects, in particular, have been selected over other material for the study of social identity, because evidence suggests that metal products played an instrumental role in the expression and negotiation of social status in prehistoric Cyprus and metallurgy underscored social, economic and political developments in Bronze Age Cyprus.
Name: Murphy Céline
Title/Affiliation: University of Kent
Title: The Mind's Hand: Manufacture and tactile engagement with Minoan clay figurines
Currently at the heart of many recent archaeological investigations, the embodiment of thoughts in physical form and the materiality of such representations have allowed for the observation of certain ways of behaving and thinking in prehistoric societies. While the final products of these processes, such as the representations of the body in clay, wood or metals are widely examined, fewer studies have been dedicated the actual process of this rendering. In this paper, I therefore wish to consider the effect born from the moment of physical engagement of a human body with a material, and the consequent material properties associated to the objects bearing the traces of this process.
Following the observation and experimental reconstruction of the basic gestures involved in the manufacture of a specific type of Minoan peak sanctuary clay figurines, I was able to understand that conscious judgemental and inter-material translational skills were also involved in this process. The latter in fact represent a much more complex system of relations existing between the manufacturer and the clay than the widely accepted paradigm of 'human action upon material'. Studying the manufacture process also allowed me to address the structured and ritualised aspects of figurine-making, and consequently its capacity in revealing the difference between the crafts-person's and consumer's experience of the object.
Finally, the much neglected sense of touch was addressed in relation to these material bodies. Feeling the proportions of the miniaturised figurines - and the relations existing between the three-dimensional body parts - can uncover some of the mental processes of the figurine-maker, who precisely translated these thoughts into material and touchable form. Indeed, peak sanctuary figurines were not objects made merely to be looked at, but rather their meaning as material objects came from their capacity in being easily made, moved and handled.
Name: Papadatos Yiannis
Title/Affiliation: Lecturer of Prehistoric Archeology, University of Athens, Department of History and Archaeology
Title: Body biographies: anthropomorphic figurines of the Early Bronze Age southern Aegean
Traditional studies of the anthropomorphic figurines of the Early Bronze Age communities in the southern Aegean tend to emphasize the increased similarities concerning their type, form and context of find. This is largely because Cycladic iconography influenced greatly the neighbouring areas, as evidenced by the existence of imports, hybrid types and local imitations of Cycladic-type figurines in the littoral southern Aegean. The typological conformity of these figurines was used as evidence for increased cultural uniformity not only within, but also between regions, within the context of a pan-Aegean koine, the so-called 'International Spirit'. Recent studies, on the other hand, focus on the ornamentation of these figurines, arguing that through painted decoration figurines conveyed information and symbols that may be related to issues of identity. On this basis figurines expressed distinction rather than uniformity, and difference rather than similarity; furthermore, they can be more closely associated with values and meanings which in real life were transmitted through the decoration of the human body. In this presentation, through a comparative analysis of the evidence for body modification and painting in various areas of the Aegean, we try to identify regional differences not only in the function or the symbolic significance of the figurines, but also in the way human body was perceived by these early Aegean communities.
Name: Papadimitriou Nikolas
Title/Affiliation: Dr, Department of Antiquities – Cyprus Museum
Title: Collective selves and funerary rituals: Mycenaean dromoi as spaces of negotiation and embodiment of social identities
Being at the heart of modern research in social sciences, "identity" covers a wide range of meanings referring to the ways humans perceive their selves. A clear definition of the concept is, therefore, essential for any study of that kind; particularly so in archaeology, where we deal with societies to which current categories of identification may (and probably did) not apply.
The present paper will avoid reference to specific categories (e.g. gender, status) and focus on three generic (i.e. structural) features of identity, namely its dynamic, interactive and social qualities: dynamic because it is not static but evolving; interactive because it is constructed upon comparison and differentiation; and social because it develops within collective frameworks.
In order to explore how those qualities relate to bodily practices, I will focus on Mycenaean funerary rituals. So far, those rituals have been used primarily for the study of status divisions within society. Drawing on anthropological theory, I will suggest that a diachronic analysis of the changing relation between mortuary space and human action can reveal a lot more about the role of rituals in shaping, transmitting and re-negotiating group identities. Special emphasis will be laid on the importance of dromoi as liminal areas, where collective memories and values were inscribed into habitual (i.e. unconscious) bodily practices through formalized performances. Ostentatious displays and possible cases of "individualized" representations will be also examined as strategies of identification through differentiation, based on the manipulation of the dead body by the living group.
It will be argued that the search for "individual identities" in prehistory is methodologically futile. Identity, both as a mental faculty and as bodily practice, is constructed, negotiated and reproduced within social frameworks; it is those frameworks that we can hope to reveal through a careful analysis of long-term patterning in funerary behaviour.
Name: Philaniotou Olga
Title/Affiliation: Director, Ephorate of Prehistoric and Classical Antiquities, Lesbos
Title: The figurines of Thermi, Lesbos. Form and function
Neolithic type known from the islet of Saliagos near Antiparos. In Thermi III appear figurines made of clay, which continued to be made until Thermi V. Their quantity is very impressive in comparison with other sites of the same period. We know more than one hundred from Winifred Lamb's publication and several more were found in the excavations carried out by the Greek Archaeological Service between 2005-2008. They are small, schematic, plank-shaped, mostly female forms in a wide range of types, which reflect connections with the Troad, Thessaly, the Cyclades and Asia Minor. Some wear clothes, indicated with white-filled incisions, others have elaborate hair styles or pierced ears. In some cases, apart from the head, the breasts are the only anatomical detail shown, but there is also a type with folded arms and separated legs, which has been compared to the Plastiras or 'canonical' type from the Cyclades. Their symbolic significance has been stressed, and, since no 'sanctuary' has so far been found at Thermi, and almost all examples were found in houses, they may indicate the existence of private, household shrines. There may, however, have been other uses – perhaps as personal amulets, toys etc.
Name: Pilavaki Stella
Title/Affiliation: Dr, Department of Anthropology, University College, London
Title: Turning into Stone: Rock Art and the Construction of Identities in Ancient Thrace.
This paper explores the representation of the human body in a prehistoric rock art complex situated in Northern Greece. The main principles of representation and style of the art are first presented and discussed. Human figures conform to a general template while at the same time emphasize their difference by displaying a considerable diversity in size, form, sex, dress, internal 'decoration', posture, gestures and association with different objects. Differentiation between figures is not seen as merely reflecting a variety of instances of past people but as the actual mechanism through which individuals were self-determined in relation to the world. Placed within a clearly defined category having common elements of form, people fostered the feeling of belonging to a group that shared the same values and beliefs. Individual representations on the other hand isolated, selected and emphasized certain attributes over others, creating and reproducing distinctions between different groups and defining inter-personal relationships.
An innovative tripartite approach was adopted in the interpretation of the art, which shows that structuralism and phenomenology are not mutually exclusive as has been often thought. The datasets derived from my phenomenological experience in the field, structural analysis of the source material and literature research were relationally analyzed. Phenomenology provided the link between the images and the materiality of the landscape, and furnished the structural analysis with parameters dependent on temporal and topographical factors that would be otherwise impossible to assess. Bodily engaging with the art and the land in which it exists was also the means to explore the nature of the individual experience induced in rituals involving the art. The parameters of this art were finally placed against what is known about the cultural background of the makers from historical sources in order to assess the way structures of meaning might relate to the specific cultural context.
Name: Simandiraki-Grimshaw Anna 1 & Stevens Fay 2
Title/Affiliation: 1 Dr, University of Kent
2 University College London
Title: Composite, created, partial and floating bodies: A re-assessment of the Knossos Temple Repositories Assemblage.
The Palace of Knossos, Crete, Greece is a seminal site for understanding Aegean prehistory. Indeed, the Palace's major excavation phase by Arthur Evans in the early 1900s established some of the recovered artefacts as iconic in both the archaeological and public domains. This paper examines the finds from two cists, the so-called Temple Repositories, from the Palace of Knossos, dating to the Middle Minoan Period of the site (MMIII, ca. 1700-1600 BCE).
From these two depositional contexts of complete and fragmented artefacts Evans, using photography as one of his methodological tools, (re)created the 'Temple Respositories Assemblage' (TRA). The TRA incorporates a range of body types, including the so-called 'Snake Goddesses'. Expressly, Evans created from these incomplete bodies and body parts a carefully constructed assemblage that, in its own right, can be viewed of as a conceptual/pseudo body (of sorts).
We consider how the human body (partial, whole, composite, actual and imagined) was utilised by Evans as a performative medium through which Minoan and contemporary identities were being transformed (through the manipulation of the archaeological material) and experienced (via the viewing of the TRA as a photographic assemblage). We show how, from a disparate set of fragmented body parts, identities were embodied and articulated as 'whole' and 'complete'. We argue that these bodies, as (re) constructed and depicted through the TRA, collectively represent an idealised body that metaphorically materialises Evans's embodiment of social identity of the Minoan past, the Cretan present and that of his own.
Name: Triantaphyllou Sevi
Title/Affiliation: Aristotle University of Thessaloniki
Title: Constructing identities through ageing the body in the prehistoric Aegean: the view of the human remains
Age is an important facet of human life which is often considered to reflect purely the biological identity of the individual. Ethnographic as well as historical work reveals that age concerns on a much more complicated aspect which can be significantly affected by social and cultural concepts within societies. Age thus appears to be linked largely to socially perceived roles within a community rather than biologically defined divisions. Evidence for the appearance and involvement in specific activities of individuals belonging in different age categories in the prehistoric Aegean derive from a limited range of material culture e.g. pictorial art, objects associated with specific age groups but also of information based on Linear B tablets. The study of the human skeletal remains however can shed some new light by combining information of biological with socially constructed identities.
This paper will attempt to discuss new evidence of recent work undertaken in human skeletal populations from a broad geographical and chronological range in the prehistoric Aegean such as: the Neolithic Macedonian flat-extended type of settlements with adults revealing some type of secondary manipulation versus the articulated infant burials, the Early Minoan skeletal assemblages of Crete where in certain cases subadults are considerably under-represented, the late Middle Helladic burials in the Argolid with a spatial segregation between adult and subadult burials, the exclusion of early infants from Mycenaean chamber tombs but also the inclusion of elderly women in the warrior graves of the Geometric Argos. Manipulation of the deceased based on biological age, e.g. segregation and/or inclusion of certain age categories to the common burial ground but also differential treatment of the deceased according to age, can offer a great opportunity to explore aspects related to the changing way that the living embody age identity of the deceased in the prehistoric Aegean.
Name: Urem-Kotsou Dushka
Title/Affiliation: Lecturer, Democritus University of Thrace
Title: Embodied vessels
Pottery is one of the main forms of material culture used during the Neolithic to express and negotiate people's identity in various ways. In northern Greece the social role of vessels is sometimes more explicitly underlined through symbolic equation of the pots with human and animal body. In this paper the role and the meaning of the vessels particularly symbolically charged by such presentations will be approached through their use. Their possible meanings will also be discussed in comparison with similar vessels from the neighboring regions in the Balkans.
Name: Vlachou Vicky
Title/Affiliation: Postdoctoral researcher CReA-Patrimoine, University of Brussels – University of Athens
Title: Nuptial vases in female tombs? Aspects of funerary behaviour during the Attic Late Geometric period.
The richness of the female graves in Early Iron Age Attica has been much remarked in modern scholarship. In comparison to contemporary male burials, female burials seem to have contained a number of distinct items, a tradition that is not commonly found elsewhere during the same period.
During the Late Geometric period and especially in its second phase, pouring vessels, hydriae and pitchers are commonly found in graves that have been connected to the burials of females. Their presence, especially for the case of the hydria, has been interpreted on the basis of attitudes towards death and the role of water with a particular symbolism. However the incompleteness of the archaeological record further complicates the issue.
The focus of this paper is the pitcher, a short-lived vessel that is commonly found in tombs of the Late Geometric period and almost vanishes afterwards. It was introduced in the Athenian repertoire around the middle of the 8th c. probably by the Dipylon Painter and his Workshop. The profile shape permits of small variations until the end of the 8th c. The size of the pitchers seems to have been more or less fixed and probably fitted to the large scale production of the shape during the Late Geometric IIa period.
A distinctive group of pitchers is of great interest as figured decoration is applied on the surface with strong references to ritual celebrations. A connection to wedding ceremonies and the marital state of the women may be suggested for those vases that functioned possibly as the forerunner of the clay loutrophoros of the Archaic and Classical periods. A recent find from Marathon may support such an interpretation in funeral context.
Name: Voutsaki Sofia
Title/Affiliation: Professor of Greek Archaeology, Groningen Institute of Archaeology, University of Groningen
Title: Bodies, persons, images at the onset of the Mycenaean era
The transition from the Middle to the Late Bronze Age in the southern mainland (MH III – LH I; ca. 1800 – 1600 BC) is generally considered as a period of social change culminating with the emergence of social elites, or regional super-centres such as Mycenae and Thebes. Other important changes which take place in this period, the transformation of bodily practices and notions of the person, have received much less attention. Here we could include changes in the treatment of the body at death (grooming, dressing, anointing, adorning the body; laying out in extended position; selecting and positioning the funerary offerings; secondary treatment of the body and manipulation of body parts and offerings), changes in bodily practices in life (changes in dress, grooming of the body, ornamentation), but also in the representation of the human body with the introduction of figurative art in the hitherto uniconic mainland.
This paper will explore the significance of these changes for the creation (materialisation, visualisation) of personal, gender and social identities and their relation to the wider social and cultural processes which transformed the societies of the southern mainland.
Name: Webb Jennifer
Title/Affiliation: Dr, Charles La Trobe Research Fellow, Archaeology Program, La Trobe University, Australia
Title: Pots and people: an investigation of objects as indexes of selfhood in Early Bronze Age Cyprus
Potters and their products play an important role in the articulation of social categories and at the non-discursive level of individual actions and situated social practice. This paper will look at the ways in which pottery vessels served as indexes of selfhood and mediators of social agency in Early Bronze Age Cyprus. In particular it will explore the extent to which Red Polished ware assemblages across the island reflect different associations between people and pots and different daily encounters with the material world.
Name: Whitley James
Title/Affiliation: Professor in Mediterranean Archaeology, School of History, Archaeology, and Religion, Cardiff University
Title: Burning People, Breaking Things: Material Entanglements, the Bronze Age/Iron Age Transition and the Homeric dividual
This paper proposes that we see the Bronze Age/Iron Age transition in the Aegean primarily as a change in 'material entanglements'. It argues first that the forms of material entanglements we find in the Homeric poems, and the forms of agency (sensu Gell 1998) that we can observe in the archaeological record for the Early Iron Age (broadly 1000-500 BC) are of the same kind. This form of 'material entanglement' is not to be found in the Bronze Age Aegean, where there is much fragmentation of precious objects (e.g. bull-head rhyta, the Palaikastro 'kouros') but little direct association between identifiable bodies and identifiable things. This pattern changes around 1100 BC. Adult bodies in general, and male bodies in particular come to be burnt (cremated) more frequently, and are frequently found with objects that have extended biographies, linking the Aegean with other parts of the Eastern Mediterranean. It is also around 1100-900 BC that we seen the greatest convergence of practice between the mainland (particularly Euboea and Attica), and Crete. After this, material entanglements begin to diverge. It is the mainland practice that comes closest to the pattern we see in the Homeric poems, where the agency of object not only structures Homeric narrative, but entangles people and things. The paper end with a suggestion that we need to take a closer look at those neglected theorists of 'embodied identities', Bruno Snell (Entstehung der Geistes) and Bernard Williams (Shame and Necessity).
Name: Zeman-Wiśniewska Katarzyna
Title/Affiliation: PhD candidate, Department of Classics, Trinity College Dublin
Title: Handlers and Viewers. Some remarks on the process of perception of terracotta figurines on the example of Cypriot 'Goddesses with Upraised Arms'.
The dimensions of the object play an important role in the process of perception and can have psychological effects on viewers and handlers. Bigger or smaller size imposes specific limitations and possibilities, i.e. a figure is more visible for a larger group of people, and a figurine is more palpable and easier to handle. Especially miniaturization, always connected with a certain degree of abstraction and compression of the represented body, which results in the intimacy that is demanded by small objects, can create a special relation between a figurine and its viewer and/or handler. As an example of such interaction I would like to discuss examples of GWUAs ('Goddesses with Upraised Arms') type figurines, dated to the Early Iron Age, from the sites of Enkomi and Kition in Cyprus. Despite their conventional name they most likely represented female (however, some of them are gender-ambiguous) worshippers or priestesses engaged in cult activity, and were deposited in sanctuaries as offerings or as a representation of a ritual, assuring its continuous repetition. Examples from both sites, which I would like to consider, are of small size (ca. 9 to 15 cm), thus they are possible to be handled and displayed by individuals and could play an important role in both public and private cult. I discuss also practical aspects of how these specific objects might be held and touched. In this paper I would also like to argue that GWUAs figurines illustrate possibilities for negotiating one's role and place within the community by promoting a special female relationship with the divine, achieved by participation in special cult activities.