Ambiguous symbols: why there were no figurines in Neolithic Britain

  • Julian Thomas School of Arts, Histories and Cultures, University of Manchester
Keywords: Neolithic, figurines, symbols, ritual practice

Abstract

In this paper I discuss the scarcity of representational art, and particularly of representations of the human body, in Neolithic Britain, in contrast with the Neolithic of south-east Europe. My suggestion is that this contrast can be linked with differing notions of personal identity and bodily integrity. In later Neolithic Britain, a complex mode of non-representational decoration developed, which elaborated the practice of making reference to absent persons and things by using deliberately ambiguous motifs, which connected past and present as well as remote locations.

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Published
2005-12-31
How to Cite
Thomas, J. (2005). Ambiguous symbols: why there were no figurines in Neolithic Britain. Documenta Praehistorica, 32, 167-175. https://doi.org/10.4312/dp.32.12
Section
Articles