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Document Type:Latin Dissertation
Language of Document:English
Record Number:53805
Doc. No:TL23759
Call number:‭3155669‬
Main Entry:Alice A. Petty
Title & Author:Anthropomorphic figurines from Umm el -Marra, Syria: Chronology, visual analysis and functionAlice A. Petty
College:The Johns Hopkins University
Date:2005
Degree:Ph.D.
student score:2005
Page No:400
Abstract:The subject of this dissertation is a corpus of 203 Bronze Age anthropomorphic figurines recovered from various archaeological contexts at Umm el-Marra, Syria. Anthropomorphic figurines are an important subject of study because they are common in the archaeological record and yet they are poorly understood. Despite this ubiquity, crucial questions have yet to be answered: Who or what is being represented? Why does their appearance change over time, and what is the relationship between their style and chronology? What were these figurines used for, and what can these enigmatic objects tell us about the lives of ancient people? The foundation of this study is an illustrated catalogue, which includes references to comparanda as a means of establishing the chronological typology of the corpus. The identity and meaning of the figurines is discerned via a visual analysis of the form, style, and iconography of the corpus. This analysis focuses on emphasized and omitted motifs, in particular the conspicuous omission of the mouth which is characteristic of the figurines of the Early and Middle Bronze Age periods. The implications of the introduction of the use of the mold at the onset of the Late Bronze Age is also discussed, as is the transition from the non-naturalistic to naturalistic rendering of the human form. The identification of the activities and behaviors associated with the use the figurines incorporate insights gleaned by both their visual analysis and ethnohistorical analogy. The archaeological contexts from which the figurines were recovered as well as their breakage and distribution patterns, and associated artifacts and ecofacts are then analyzed. It is concluded that the figurines were intended to be perceived as representations of magical or supernatural beings, and that these representations were used within the domestic realm as vehicles of sympathetic and/or apotropaic magic. That the figurines display increased visual standardization over time is intrinsically related to their identification and meaning as authorless representations, or symbols. The incorporation of Umm el-Marra into increasingly large polities, such as the kingdom of Yamhad and the Mittannian empire, may also have been a contributing factor to this trend.
Subject:Social sciences; Anthropomorphic; Bronze Age; Chronology; Figurines; Magic; Syria; Umm el-Marra; Visual analysis; Archaeology; Ancient civilizations; 0579:Ancient civilizations; 0324:Archaeology
Added Entry:G. M. Schwartz
Added Entry:The Johns Hopkins University