Aegeus Society For Aegean Prehistory


22 June 2012

Decorating the Neolithic: an Evaluation of the Use of Plaster in the Enhancement of Daily Life in the Middle Pre-pottery Neolithic B of the Southern Levant

Joanne Clarke Cambridge Archaeological Journal 22:2 (June 2012): 177-186.


During the Middle Pre-pottery Neolithic B in the southern Levant the use of lime plaster in both ritual and domestic contexts increased significantly relative to previous periods. Its properties of whiteness, purity, plasticity and antisepsis would have made it a natural choice for decorating, and through the act of colouring disparate categories of objects were linked together. Plaster appears to have transcended its own inherent value as a material due to its interconnectedness with mortuary ritual. Because of its ubiquity, this socially ascribed value was accessible to everyone. This article will claim that plaster, and the act of plastering both ritual and domestic contexts played a key role in the creation and maintenance of community cohesion and social well-being.



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