Show Summary Details

Page of

PRINTED FROM OXFORD HANDBOOKS ONLINE (www.oxfordhandbooks.com). © Oxford University Press, 2018. All Rights Reserved. Under the terms of the licence agreement, an individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a title in Oxford Handbooks Online for personal use (for details see Privacy Policy and Legal Notice).

date: 17 September 2019

Abstract and Keywords

The interpretation of prehistoric figurines used to be wildly comparative, most infamously in claims that early figurines, everywhere, represented goddesses. Now, instead, analysts seek to contextualize figurines, emphasizing variable meanings and uses. From the contextualist perspective, comparison itself appears to have been discredited. This chapter argues that contextualist misgivings are legitimate but surmountable; indeed, comparison between contexts is unavoidable. A framework for putting comparison on a sounder footing is described and applied to the Neolithic of the Near East. It turns out that there is indeed patterning at very large scales in the record of prehistoric figurine-making. A narrow contextualism is therefore not enough. Instead of rejecting comparison, we need to work on ways of doing it better.

Keywords: figurine, comparison, context, contextualism, goddess, Neolithic, Near East

Access to the complete content on Oxford Handbooks Online requires a subscription or purchase. Public users are able to search the site and view the abstracts and keywords for each book and chapter without a subscription.

Please subscribe or login to access full text content.

If you have purchased a print title that contains an access token, please see the token for information about how to register your code.

For questions on access or troubleshooting, please check our FAQs, and if you can''t find the answer there, please contact us.