Published December 17, 2017 | Version v1
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Mothers and figurines: representation of pregnancy in the Early Neolithic of Central Balkans

  • 1. Belgrade
  • 2. BioSense Institute, University of Novi Sad; Laboratory for Bioarchaeology, Faculty of Philosophy, University of Belgrade


In this paper, we analyze Early Neolithic (6200–5300 calBC) Starčevo culture anthropomorphic clay figurines from the Central and Northern Balkan. Our aim is to explore whether figurines were used to represent pregnancy and fertility. We recorded bodily attributes related to pregnancy and birth of the 159 Starčevo culture figurines such the presence of pronounced belly, as well as the presence of primary and secondary sexual characteristics. The results of our analysis show that pregnancy was not unambiguously represented in the Early Neolithic Starčevo figurines, therefore hypotheses about connections between the making of figurines and fertility have no apparent empirical basis



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BIRTH – Births, mothers and babies: prehistoric fertility in the Balkans between 10000 – 5000 BC 640557
European Commission