Mothers, babies and figurines in the Neolithic of Central Balkans
- 1. Department for archaeology, Faculty of Philosophy, University of Belgrade
- 2. Laboratory for Bioarchaeology, Faculty of Philosophy, University of Belgrade
- 3. Department for archaeology, Faculty of Philosophy, University of Belgrade; BioSense Institute, University of Novi Sad
- 4. BioSense Institute, University of Novi Sad; Laboratory for Bioarchaeology, Faculty of Philosophy, University of Belgrade
Neolithization brought great changes to the prehistoric communities in different parts of Eurasia. One aspect of change, thoroughly studied in recent years, is the Neolithic demographic transition. It has been suggested that the demographic expansion on the onset of Neolithic was caused by increased fertility – increase in the number of pregnancies and consequently babies – which was feasible due to sedentary life and more stable food supplies. These changes in fertility and daily life could have been displayed in material culture. In this study we analyse anthropomorphic figurines as possible representations of body and corporeality. In order to test the hypothesis that Neolithic figurines are related to fertility (i.e., that they directly represent pregnant women), we record attributes of figurine bodies that are related to pregnancy and sex on figurines from different sites in the Central Balkans. If they are, the attributes related to fertility should be frequently depicted on figurines, especially in the initial stages of Neolithic, when the population boom happened.