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Title: The factors involved in the florescence of 'art' and symbolic practices in the Neolithic of Anatolia and the Levant
Author: Schepens, Christine
ISNI:       0000 0004 6057 8576
Awarding Body: University of Liverpool
Current Institution: University of Liverpool
Date of Award: 2015
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My research examines the florescence of symbolically elaborated material symbolism or ‘art’ witnessed with the appearance of the first sedentary village farming com munities’ c. 10000 years ago of Anatolia and Levant in South - West Asia. The objective is to clarify the potential correlation between symbolic material and increased sedentism, territoriality, ritual practice, group size, subsistence changes, agriculture, husbandry, and domestication. Specifically, to examine the psychological changes may have allowed, or promoted, social and economic changes through sedentism and farming. Considering the implications of social transformations in the Neolithic, despite the numerous Neolithic decorated buildings, decorated tools , figurines, and decoration portable items, studies to date have failed to cross reference the symbolism displayed on such items. Though the methodological approaches in this thesis have been influenced by the work of Kozłowski and Aurenche (2005) , who use an extensive assemblage to assess the implications of style on territories and boundaries in South - West Asia, a much broader framew ork for analysis is required for this thesis. A larger range of variables had to be considered and included in order to accurately assess the relationship between symbolic material and concurrent social changes. Data had to include information about site s ize, location, date, geographical and environmental placement, evidence for plant and animal exploitation, settlement layout, and detailed contextual evidence. This approach enabled assessment of changes in symbolically elaborated material. It also provide d a method with which to consider how the differing communities used the symbolically elaborated material within a different set of behaviour by examining the contextual deposition. My data rejects the potential correlation between symbolic material and e nvironmental change, increasing site size and permanence, population pressure, social tensions, subsistence changes, agriculture, husbandry, and domestication. Whilst these changes occurred in tandem, there is no causal link. Instead, the data suggest that distinctive patterns of ritual behaviour, alongside explicit motif choice, link to specific regional trends. These regional patterns point to resilient systems of communal identity. Chronological changes within the data reflect changes in the manipulation and presentation of that identity, evolving independently from other facets of Neolithic life. This chronological change potentially relates to the dynamic between sedentary and nomadic groups within the landscape and evolving inter - site relationships. The main factors involved in the florescence of symbolically elaborated material culture is sedentism and distinct regional patterns, along with specific behaviours relating to individual and house identities within communal identity. Any future study aiming to explain the ‘revolution of symbols’ will need to consider the implications of these independently evolving expressions of identity.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available