Clay figurines represent one of the ideal object categories for tracing the profile of their makers since they preserve traces of the maker’s gestures. The scope of the article is to reconstruct the different manufacturing steps of clay figurines, assess the complexity of the shaping sequences and study fingerprints to trace the profile of people who produced such artefacts in the ancient village of Lahun (Egypt, MBA II, c. 1800–1700 BC). The high number of production chains revealed that, despite an apparent roughness, clay figurine production was characterised by high stylistic and technological variability, indicating several levels of skill possessed by their producers. On this basis, Lahun clay figurines were not an extemporary or standardised product. A neat division can be established between anthropomorphic figurines and those representing animals, which show a lower degree of complexity and an attempt not to define clear shapes. Most of the figurines were revealed to be mainly shaped by adults, while children contributed in a marginal way to their production. However, the presence of sub-adult fingerprints on some of the clay figurines indicates that children were active agents producing material culture and integrating part of the adult production process through cooperation and/or playing.

Profiling the people behind clay figurines: Technological trace and fingerprint analysis applied to ancient Egypt (Lahun village, MBA II, c. 1800–1700 BC)

Miniaci
Co-primo
Conceptualization
2023-01-01

Abstract

Clay figurines represent one of the ideal object categories for tracing the profile of their makers since they preserve traces of the maker’s gestures. The scope of the article is to reconstruct the different manufacturing steps of clay figurines, assess the complexity of the shaping sequences and study fingerprints to trace the profile of people who produced such artefacts in the ancient village of Lahun (Egypt, MBA II, c. 1800–1700 BC). The high number of production chains revealed that, despite an apparent roughness, clay figurine production was characterised by high stylistic and technological variability, indicating several levels of skill possessed by their producers. On this basis, Lahun clay figurines were not an extemporary or standardised product. A neat division can be established between anthropomorphic figurines and those representing animals, which show a lower degree of complexity and an attempt not to define clear shapes. Most of the figurines were revealed to be mainly shaped by adults, while children contributed in a marginal way to their production. However, the presence of sub-adult fingerprints on some of the clay figurines indicates that children were active agents producing material culture and integrating part of the adult production process through cooperation and/or playing.
2023
Miniaci, Gianluca
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11568/1201927
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