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Figured Lifeworlds and Depositional Practices at Çatalhöyük

  • Lynn Meskell (a1), Carolyn Nakamura (a2), Rachel King (a3) and Shahina Farid (a4)


The corpus of figurines from Çatalhöyük has attracted the attention of diverse audiences but there has been an overwhelming focus on a selection of female figurines, many of which lack exact provenience. Excavation from 1961 to 1965 yielded more mundane examples classifiable as anthropomorphic, zoomorphic and abbreviated forms. New work attempts to balance the picture through various methods and strategies. The research presented here collates the artefacts from these early seasons with those retrieved from 1993 to 2006 to gain a fuller understanding of figurine practice. The figurines almost exclusively represent secondary deposition. We can now assess the number and type of figurines deposited in buildings, middens, burials and elsewhere. Reassessment of the entire corpus has prompted interrogation of the category of ‘figurine’ and reconsideration of the taxonomies along with other artefacts and image production at Çatalhöyük. Depositional practices at the site suggest processes of mobility and circulation that have rarely been considered in studies of figurines. Typical ‘representational’ or aesthetic approaches imply that the figurines were a special category with particular values of religiosity and gender; but attention to the archaeological context can imply meaning from the material practices within which ‘figurines’ were enmeshed.


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Cambridge Archaeological Journal
  • ISSN: 0959-7743
  • EISSN: 1474-0540
  • URL: /core/journals/cambridge-archaeological-journal
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