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Title: From artifact to icon : an analysis of the Venus figurines in archaeological literature and contemporary culture
Author: Lander, Louise Muriel
Awarding Body: Durham University
Current Institution: Durham University
Date of Award: 2005
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This thesis examines the body of material known as the Venus figurines, which date from the European Upper Palaeolithic period. The argument proceeds in two stages: the first examines this material through a detailed textual analysis of the archaeological literature that has discussed these figurines since their initial discovery at the end of the 19th century to the present day; the second investigates the utilisation of particular Venus figurines in the contemporary medium of the World Wide Web. The textual analysis identifies and discusses a number of factors relevant to the presentation and fundamental construction of the Venus figurines as an archaeological category. These include examination of the use of terminology to label and define the figurines as a class of material(Chapter 2); assessment of information presented in the literature pertaining to contextual and chronological factors (Chapter 3); evaluation of the evidence provided for both the homogeneity and diversity apparent within this category (Chapter 4); Chapter 5 isolates and discusses a number of methods implicit in the production of the literature by which aspects of both individual figurines and the wider class are prioritised to create and consolidate a particular impression of the archaeological material; Chapter 6 presents three detailed Case Studies of these processes as they are in practice applied to the Venus figurines. In Chapter 7 the specific use of these figurines in one medium of contemporary culture, the World Wide Web, is examined. Within this medium, the figurines are removed from their original archaeological context and contemporary meanings are attributed to them. This popular usage is then compared and contrasted with archaeological practice. My analysis demonstrates that parallels between the two approaches can be drawn, and identifies the role of the Venus figurines as a "commodity" within both archaeology and contemporary culture.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available