Casting the net wide: materiality and social networks in the Epipalaeolithic and early Neolithic of the Near East

This source preferred by Fiona Coward

Authors: Coward, F.

Start date: 17 December 2008

This paper will consider the many and various roles of different kinds of material objects in the Epipalaeolithic and early Neolithic of the Near East at the time of the adoption of sedentism and the development of village communities. Rather than seeing different kinds of material culture as comprising distinctive ‘packages’ delimiting discrete ethnic or socio-economic ‘identities’, I consider different kinds of material culture in their wider context as medium and mode of the social networks that link people together in space and time. The varying material qualities and roles of different forms of everyday material objects mean that each is incorporated into the social/material environments of individuals in rather different ways. This paper investigates the ways in which the particular and differing qualities of different kinds of material culture (jewellery and ornaments, ground stone technology, architectural features etc.) are embedded in multiple heterogeneous networks comprised of interlinked people and objects. Such a perspective can inform a much more nuanced understanding of social lives during this period of rapid social and material culture change.

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