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Representing complexity, communicating relations. Network analyses of ornamentation on twenty pottery vessels from the Sarup causewayed enclosure on Funen, Denmark

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Rie Bloch (Aarhus University), PhD student
Keywords: Network analysis, syntax, pottery, ornamentation, Funnel Beaker Culture, cause- wayed enclosures, megaliths, ritualization, material agency
The comprehensive and complex ornamentation on the Funnel Beaker Vessels are products of human choice and technology, and are in no way coincidental. But how about the compo- sition of these ornaments – does it display a specific structure, or syntax? Are there any types of geometrical decorations that are more central than others, or do they all appear to be po- sitioned coincidentally? The foundation of this research is a general enquiry into what happens during the middle Funnel Beaker period (in Denmark, around 3300-3100 BCE) with the expan- sion of both ornamented pottery vessels, megaliths, causewayed enclosures and ritual acts, and how this is reflected in the pottery ornamentation. With all this evidence on structure, consciousness and not at least the ritual practices within which pottery vessels are of key im- portance, it seems plausible that these aspects of the TRB society are re-occurring in the ar- rangement of the pottery ornamentation as well. Network analyses are applied to decode the syntax of Funnel Beaker ornamentation, as this multivariable statistical tool can decode the relations between ornamentation whereas the CA analysis for instance rather decode the combinations of ornaments, shape etc. Furthermore, the network analysis will disclose infor- mation on different degrees of centrality of the specific ornaments involved and hence which ornaments attain the most relations to others. Traditionally, network analysis has been used in archaeology to decode e.g. routes of trade, migration, communication and exchange of ideas (see e.g. Knappett 2013). By applying the network analysis on artefacts and hence “dead objects”, a new methodology is developed. Archaeologists are hence offered new insights to a classical, thoroughly analysed material, which eventually might lead to questions about exis- ting typologies (and chronologies) in Neolithic archaeology. With a theoretical basis in semio- tic discussions of material culture, communication and agency, it will be discussed if the syntax of ornamentation is communicating a message and hence potentially can be equated with a symbolic language within and between different Funnel Beaker communities.
Knappett, C. 2013 (red.). Network Analysis in Archaeology. Oxford University Press. Oxford 2013
Translated title of the contributionKompleksitet repræsenteret, relationer kommunikeret: Netværksanalyser af ornamentik på tyve lerkar fra Saruppladsen på Fyn, Danmark
Original languageEnglish
Publication year2019
Publication statusPublished - 2019
: Socio-Environmental Dynamics over the Last 15,000 Years: The Creation of Landscapes VI
- Christian-Albrects-Universität zu Kiel, Kiel, Germany
Duration: 11 Mar 201915 Mar 2019


LocationChristian-Albrects-Universität zu Kiel

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