Figurines of Neolithic Thessaly. A Presentation: Volume ΙΙ (Online Publication)
Laia Orphanidis & Kostas Gallis
Publisher: Academy of Athens
Series: Academy of Athens Research Centre for Antiquity, Online Publications 1
Description: 378 p., numerous colour figures, maps, charts
From the introduction
The volume is the second part of the corpus of unpublished –up to present- Neolithic figurines (surface finds) belonging to private collections in Thessaly mainly to that of Kostas Theodoropoulos, but also to those of Takis Tloupas, Dinos Chouliaras, Manolis Karamanolis et al. Volume II includes 407 objects.
The precious and abundant material of this volume includes 407 figurines, of which 119 are classified as heads and 288 as bodies, including 11 items representing only parts of human body, as for instance a leg, a nose or a foot. It is presented (as in the first volume) with emphasis to its modelling and form. As it consists in casual surface finds, stratigraphical evidence is completely non – existent. Almost all are made of clay or stone (including marble).
The clay used comes from different sites in the area, resulting in a considerable range of colours from white to yellow and red, including a number of intermediate hues. A simple treatment of the clay is indicated by inclusions of stone particles, sand or plant remains. Non-plastics (inorganic tempers) were added to this clay in order to prevent the cracking of the objects when dried and fired. It is difficult to tell with certainty whether these tempers (especially sand) occurred naturally in the clays or were added by figurine makers.
Surface treatment, including decoration, is the final stage in the finishing of a ceramic artifact before firing. Though a great number of figurines were left rough, a considerable proportion were either burnished with a hard, blunt tool or (more frequently) polished with a soft yielding tool, such as apiece of leather, a handful of fleece or even a finger. A sharp colour contrast between the surface and the biscuit, often seen on figurines, may be due to the application of a slip or to mineral pigments (paint) or even to salts in the clay which rise and coat the surface during drying and firing, producing a creamy or white deposit.