1st Edition

Prehistoric Figurines Representation and Corporeality in the Neolithic

By Douglass Bailey Copyright 2005
    264 Pages 33 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    272 Pages 33 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    Fully illustrated, Prehistoric Figurines brings a radical new approach to one of the most exciting, but poorly understood artefacts from our prehistoric past. Studying the interpretation of prehistoric figurines from Neolithic southeast Europe, Bailey introduces recent developments from the fields of visual culture studies and cultural anthropology, and investigates the ways in which representations of human bodies were used by the pre-historic people to understand their own identities, to negotiate relationships and to make subtle political points.

    Bailey examines four critical conditions:
    * figurines as miniatures
    * figurines as three-dimensional representations
    * figurines as anthropomorphs
    * figurines as representations.

    Through these conditions, the study travels beyond the traditional mechanisms of interpretation and takes the debate past the out-dated interpretations of figurines as Mother-Goddess as Bailey examines individual prehistoric figurines in their original archaeological contexts and views them in the light of modern exploitations of the human form.

    Students and scholars of History and Archaeology will benefit immensely from Bailey's close understanding of the material culture and pre-history of the Balkans.

    1. Introduction 2. Miniaturism and Dimensionality 3. Hamangia 4. Anthropomorphism: Dolls, portraits and body parts 5. Cucuteni-Tripolye 6. Visual Rhetoric, Truth and the Body 7. Thessalian 8. Subverting and Manipulating Reality 9. Conclusions


    Dr Douglass Bailey is Senior Lecturer at Cardiff University and a world authority on the prehistory of eastern Europe. He has conducted fieldwork in Romania and Bulgaria and written on a wide range of topics including art, architecture, and the politics of archaeology. His Balkan Prehistory (Routledge 2000) is the standard text on the southeast European Neolithic

    ‘There is certainly much of interest here, Many of the sources that Bailey brings to bear are completely novel to existing scholarship on prehistoric figurines, and they yield some real insights. The book itself is engagingly written and well illustrated. Discussions of the diverse sources make for a lively read.’Cambridge Archaeological Journal

    'Whatever you know about prehistoric figurines, this book will open your eyes and make you think... Bailey halps the reader all the way, with a meticulously constructed tect, written in an absorbing style; it combines some closely observed descriptions of the forms of figurines with comprehensive syntheses of their archaeological contexts, critical reviews of previous studies and interpretations, accessible explanations of complex ideas about human representation, and a selection of photographs and line drawings that work actively alongside the text... this is an outstanding book, because it poses so many thought-provoking questions about the complex qualities of visual representations of human bodies in the past and their significance today. – Antiquity

    '...engagingly written and well illustrated...Bailey makes a bold effort to open up interpretation of Neolithic figurines from southeastern Europe...provoking thoughts far beyond any traditional archaeological bounds.'Richard G. Lesure, University of California