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Dancing at the Dawn of Agriculture

By Yosef Garfinkel

Publication Year: 2003

How dance was depicted in Near Eastern Neolithic artifacts.

Published by: University of Texas Press

Title Page, Copyright, Dedication

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List of Figures

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List of Tables

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pp. xvii-xviii

Numerous archaeologists and museum curators allowed me to study and document materials at their collections: F. Hole of Yale University, J. Spencer and C. Walker of the British Museum, A. Caubet of the Musée du Louvre, R. B. Wartke of the Vorderasiatisches Museum in...

Part 1: The Dance Analysis

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Chapter 1: Introduction

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pp. 3-26

In this book I deal with a subject that has never been investigated before: dance at the beginning of agriculture. At first glimpse it seems that nothing can be said on such an elusive subject and that it lies beyond the boundaries of knowledgability. However, as we shall see below...

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Chapter 2: Structural Analysis of the Dance

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pp. 27-64

Analysis of the form and style of the dancing scenes contributed to the field of dance history, which, in studies of antiquity, usually concentrates on Greek vases. The history of dance has attracted the attention of scholars, both on a general level and for specific time periods. (On the...

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Chapter 3: Functional Analysis of the Dance

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pp. 65-84

While the previous chapter discussed the structure of dance, the main concern here is the function of dance. When discussing the meaning and purpose of dance, Kraus noted that it is a mistake to assume that all forms of dance have a common core or purpose or meaning. Instead...

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Chapter 4: Cognitive Analysis of the Dancing Scenes

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pp. 85-97

Cognitive archaeology is the study of past ways of thought from material remains (Renfrew et al. 1993; Renfrew and Zubrow 1994; Zubrow 1994). The basic assumptions of this approach have been summarized by Renfrew and Bahn as follows...

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Chapter 5: Conclusions

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pp. 99-102

In this work I have discussed so far the available information on dancing activity in early village communities of the Near East and southeast Europe. This material has never previously been gathered together on such a scale. Part II will present the archaeological data, site by site, period by period, for the observations drawn in Part I...

Part 2: The Data

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Chapter 6: General Remarks Concerning the Data

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pp. 105-110

Dancing scenes from some 170 sites are discussed in this part of the work. Some sites produced more than one item, and altogether, 396 depictions are presented in the drawings. Table 6.1 presents the distribution of the dancing motif in the six chronological-geographical units...

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Chapter 7: Neolithic Near East

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pp. 111-124

Dancing figures from twelve Neolithic Near Eastern sites are presented in this study (Sites 1–12). These were discovered in the Levant, northern Mesopotamia, Anatolia, and Cyprus (Fig. 7.1) and are dated to the eighth and seventh millennia bc. They are presented below in chronological order...

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Chapter 8: Halafian and Samarra Cultures

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pp. 125-159

In this chapter dancing figures from thirty-five sites are presented (Sites 13–47). These examples were discovered in Mesopotamia, Anatolia, the Levant, and Armenia (Fig. 8.1). While some dating problems exist concerning Halafian and Samarra cultures in general and each site in...

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Chapter 9: Neolithic and Chalcolithic Iran

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pp. 161-203

In this chapter dancing figures from forty-two sites are presented. These were discovered in different regions of Iran (Fig. 9.1): the Deh Luran Plain, Luristan, and Khuzistan in western Iran (twenty-three sites, nos. 48–70), the Iranian Plateau and northern Iran (five sites...

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Chapter 10: Neolithic Southeast Europe

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pp. 205-231

This group represents the western and northern extremes of the distribution area of the dancing motif (Fig. 10.1). The sites are discussed in the following geographical order: Greece (four sites, nos. 90–93; for further examples, see Sampson 1992:80–83), Bulgaria and the former...

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Chapter 11: Predynastic Egypt

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pp. 233-267

The major works on the dance of ancient Egypt tend to deal with the historical periods, only after the rise of the Pharaonic state around 3100 bc (Brunner-Traut 1958, 1985; Wild 1963; Saleh 1998). For Predynastic Egypt, dated to the fifth and fourth millennia bc, no systematic research...

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Chapter 12: Later Examples from the Near East

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pp. 269-290

Dancing figures from twenty-two sites are presented in this section, as well as two items of unknown origin. They are generally dated to the fourth and third millennia bc. These specimens were discovered in different regions of the Near East (Fig. 12.1): Mesopotamia and western...

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Chapter 13: Appendix The Figures with “Turned-upwards Legs”

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pp. 291-295

In addition to the objects presented in Chapter 7, examples of Neolithic art of the ancient Near East include an anthropomorphic figure with raised arms and raised legs. The arms are bent upwards, first horizontally and then vertically. The legs are separate and are also bent upwards, first...


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pp. 297-317


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pp. 319-326

E-ISBN-13: 9780292798687
E-ISBN-10: 0292798687
Print-ISBN-13: 9780292728455
Print-ISBN-10: 029272845X

Page Count: 346
Illustrations: 199 b&w illus., 7 maps, 7 tables
Publication Year: 2003