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date: 23 September 2019

Abstract and Keywords

Prehistoric Cyprus was home to a surprisingly rich and varied corpus of three-dimensional figurative imagery, including anthropomorphic and zoomorphic figurines and figurative vessels, as well as models of inanimate objects in stone, clay, and copper. Beginning with the rare fragments discovered in Pre-Pottery Neolithic A contexts, Cyprus’ figurine record developed over several millennia into the diverse, island-wide, representative phenomena of the Bronze Age. This chapter explores the most pervasive and ongoing debates concerning the function and significance of these figurines—their use in ritual activities, their relevance to the gender discourse, and their use in the expression of identities. This will be conducted in light of recent theoretical developments in archaeology and, as ever on Cyprus, in the shadow of Aphrodite.

Keywords: Cyprus, figurine, prehistoric, gender, ritual, identity, Bronze Age, anthropomorphic and zoomorphic figurines, Bronze Age, Aphrodite

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