Σάββατο, 26 Ιανουαρίου 2013
ASTONISHING COLLECTION OF ANCIENT GREEK FIGURINES BY BRITISH ARCHAEOLOGISTS
A TEAM of history-lovers from Britain have unearthed over 300 prehistoric clay figurines in one of the biggest archaeological finds in south-eastern Europe.
The archaeologists, from Southhampton University, helped make the landmark discovery at a Neolithic archaeological site in central Greece believed to have dated from between 5800 – 5300 BC.
The figurines, which were found scattered all over the site of Koutroulou Magoula – located around 160 miles from Athens – are considered a major discovery in understanding the ancient Neolithic people.
The site – roughly four times the area of a football pitch – had been occupied by an advanced community of a few hundred people who made architecturally sophisticated houses from stone and mud-bricks.
The figurines are believed to not only have been considered aesthetic art, but were also used to convey and reflect ideas about a community’s culture, society and identity.
“Figurines were thought to typically depict the female form, but our find is not only extraordinary in terms of quantity, but also quite diverse – male, female and non-gender specific ones have been found and several depict a hybrid human-bird figure,” says Professor Yannis Hamilakis, Co-Director of the Koutroulou Magoula Archaeology and Archaeological Ethnography project.
"We still have a lot of work to do studying the figurines, but they should be able to give us an enormous amount of information about how Neolithic people interpreted the human body, their own gender and social identity and experience," he added.
The Neolithic period is widely considered a significant age in the development of human technology, where behavioural and cultural characteristics progressed alongside the birth of agriculture.
Correspondingly, archaeologists at the Koutroulou Magoula site have discovered evidence of farmers who kept domestic animals, used tools and had connections with settlements in the nearby area.
In addition to excavation, the archaeological project has engaged in a series of events examining the importance of Koutroulou Magoula in contemporary communities – including communal celebrations with food, drink and dance – ensuring the site is an important feature in the social and cultural life of the area.