The formalization of human images as figurines can be seen as a relevant act of self-representation, reflecting an idea of the human being and possibly of the sacred. Many figurines are made of stone, but unbaked clay, pottery, bone or ivory, and other materials also occur. The formation processes of the archaeological record are obviously relevant, as the use of perishable materials for multi-material figurines can rarely be ascertained. These facts require a careful assessment of what can be considered really “petrified” and how far the use of different materials and their occurrence in varied contexts do suggest a connection with concepts like durability and social transmission of messages. This paper addresses, through the case of figurines, the basic question of phenomena and developments in culture that can be called petrification, as well as the place of petrification as an epistemological concept. The place of petrification will be considered using three case studies: Eurasian Upper Palaeolithic; Sardinian Neolithic and Eneolithic; Egyptian Predynastic. These examples are relevant both for the discussion of the degree of petrification implied by the different materials used and for the identification of societal petrification (growing structuration), coupled with figurine petrification as a testimony of changes occurring in social communication.

The Hardness and the Eternal. Petrification Processes of Prehistoric Human Figurines / Gallinaro, Marina; Vanzetti, Alessandro. - (2021), pp. 67-80. [10.1007/978-3-030-69388-6_7].

The Hardness and the Eternal. Petrification Processes of prehistoric human figurines

Gallinaro, Marina
Primo
Conceptualization
;
Vanzetti, Alessandro
Ultimo
2021

Abstract

The formalization of human images as figurines can be seen as a relevant act of self-representation, reflecting an idea of the human being and possibly of the sacred. Many figurines are made of stone, but unbaked clay, pottery, bone or ivory, and other materials also occur. The formation processes of the archaeological record are obviously relevant, as the use of perishable materials for multi-material figurines can rarely be ascertained. These facts require a careful assessment of what can be considered really “petrified” and how far the use of different materials and their occurrence in varied contexts do suggest a connection with concepts like durability and social transmission of messages. This paper addresses, through the case of figurines, the basic question of phenomena and developments in culture that can be called petrification, as well as the place of petrification as an epistemological concept. The place of petrification will be considered using three case studies: Eurasian Upper Palaeolithic; Sardinian Neolithic and Eneolithic; Egyptian Predynastic. These examples are relevant both for the discussion of the degree of petrification implied by the different materials used and for the identification of societal petrification (growing structuration), coupled with figurine petrification as a testimony of changes occurring in social communication.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11573/1583183
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