Animal figurines during the early bronze age of Anatolia: the case of Koçumbeli

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2019
Ayten, Ebru Gizem
This thesis aims to understand the use of animal figurines at the Early Bronze Age site of Koçumbeli in social context. In order to achieve this aim, 20 animal figurines from Koçumbeli have been examined in terms of their thematic representations, raw materials, production technique, color, breakage as well as their contexts. Thematic evaluations focus on the animals depicted and their sex and age, while the contextual evaluations focus on the spatiality of animal figurines in relation to domestic and burial contexts. Following this, where possible through the publications, the animal figurines discovered at other EBA sites of Anatolia are evaluated in similar terms, in an attempt to achieve a better understanding of the figurines under consideration. The thematic findings indicate that horned animals are particularly emphasized both within the corpus of Koçumbeli and other sites. Besides these, other animals can be found within the assemblages. The contextual evaluations suggest that the clay animal figurines are generally associated with domestic contexts whereas the metal figurines are associated with elite burial contexts. Based on an evaluation of these findings against the subsistence economy of the time period as well as the development of animal imagery during the prehistory of Anatolia, it is suggested that animal figurines mediate a negotiation of social identity and prestige of individuals and families with reference to beliefs and rituals of social regeneration. Their specialized production in metals and association with elite burials should be placed in context of the emerging centralization processes during EBA in Anatolia.