Aegean and Anatolian Bronze Age metal vessels : a social perspective
The aim of this thesis is to extend the traditional formal/stylistic approach to metal vessels and access issues such as their role in ancient societies and social dynamics through the application to their study of a theory-informed approach. The choice of geographical and temporal focus, the Bronze Age Aegean and Anatolia, was informed by the complex socio-cultural transformations that these two regions experienced at this time, and an interest in how a study of this aspect of elite material culture might contribute to our understanding of the emergence and maintenance of social differentiation in pre and proto-historic societies. The current study therefore revolves around a diachronic exploration of the advent and development of metal vessels in terms of their style, functions, the techniques involved in their construction, and any inter-regional influences that can be detected and traced. In order to accomplish this it was necessary to devise a combined typology that encompassed the material of both regions, as well as create a database of the Anatolian corpus and update that of the Aegean, both of which are included in the thesis. Another aspect of this work is the study of the ceramic skeuomorphs of these metal vessels, as a means of gaining additional windows onto how notions of valuation, prestige and emulation operated in these ancient societies, and filling some of the gaps in the extant corpora. Given the dialectic that societies produce artefacts as a means of reproducing cultural logic and social relations, the patterns which emerge from the resulting diachronic analysis should be meaningful in terms of the social imperatives behind the changing nature and use of the metal vessels. By relating and comparing these to a variety of theoretical models, it should be possible to infer how metal vessels and their ceramic skeuomorphs fulfilled their roles in, and contributed to, the reproduction of society.