Neolithic Heritage Trail


Animal and Human Symbolic Representations in the Pre-Pottery Neolithic – Database Collection

Mattia Cartolano -


(The separator of the CSV files is the semicolon)


Drawing from a doctoral study on symbolism in the Pre-Pottery Neolithic (PPN; ~9700-6600 cal. BCE), the present collection of anthropomorphic and zoomorphic forms of representation aims to contribute to the current research on Neolithic symbolic and ritual practices in the Near East. The main objectives of this project are observing the distribution of the artefacts from geographical, chronological, and contextual perspectives to explore possible patterns in the data in relation to the main socio-cultural dynamics of the Neolithic transition. This work aims to assess the possible roles and functions that anthropomorphic and zoomorphic symbols might have played during the PPN and to discuss current theories and models researchers have proposed in this regard, with the hope of fostering further research on cognitive and prehistoric archaeology.

In total, 1402 database records from 64 PPN sites were catalogued including artefacts of different types such as figurines, stone monuments, and reliefs. The description of the categories and database system is outlined in Chapter 5 of the monograph, in which the relationships between the different fields are also described. The selection criteria regarding the items and archaeological sites included in the dataset are stated in Chapter 6 and the Appendix of the same volume. These sections illustrate the methods and rationale behind the data collection. The provenance of the collected objects covers the key areas of the Near East, particularly central and south-eastern Anatolia, the Levant, and the eastern flank of the Fertile Crescent.

Another thread of investigation regards the relationships between the above mentioned figurative artefacts and demographic setting. Chapter 7 of the volume presents a demographic analysis of selected PPN sites (n=12). Micro-level population estimates have been put forward using a range of diverse demographic estimating parameters for assessing population levels in prehistoric sites. These estimations were produced using archaeological data illustrated in the monograph (Ch. 7) and listed in the three CSV-Files on top of this page.

Note: The publication of this project work was supported by ex oriente e.V.
Special thanks to Christine C. J. Schepens for her contribution to the dataset. Part of the database entries have been retrieved from her doctoral work (2015) The factors involved in the florescence of 'art' and symbolic practices in the Neolithic of Anatolia and the Levant. (Ph.D.) University of Liverpool.


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