Aegeus Society For Aegean Prehistory


1 December 2009

Of stamps, loom weights and spindle whorls: Contextual evidence on the function(s) of Neolithic stamps from Ulucak, İzmir, Turkey

Çiler Çilingiroğlu Journal of Mediterranean Archaeology 22.1 (2009): 3-27.


This study discusses the function(s) of Neolithic stamps and their designs by using two different lines of evidence. The function of the artifact itself is considered by using contextual information from the Neolithic site of Ulucak Höyük, located in the vicinity of İzmir in western Turkey. It will be argued that the co-occurrence of stamps with objects related to textile manufacturing – e.g. bone needles, spindle whorls and loom weights – at Ulucak allows us to interpret their function as stamps to make patterns, among other cultural media, on woven fabrics. Secondly, the role of images on stamps is discussed in terms of what they might have signified to the communities who reproduced them over a vast time and area. The intention is to demonstrate that geometrical and floral images observed on Neolithic stamps were not simply decorative but also symbolic, referring to central themes and stories of – and for – early farming communities.


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