Museum of: Athens
    Name of the artefact: Stone anthropomorphic amulet
   
Stone plaque of steatite, probably an amulet. On both sides a human figure in a contracted position is depicted by five key incisions.
                                 
 
WHERE IS IT AND MAIN CHARACTERISTICS
 
STATE
Department:
Prehistoric
Preservation:
Very good
Inventory number:
6004.33
Restauration:
No restored
Name of the artefact:
Stone anthropomorphic amulet
Completeness:
Complete
Object type:
Amulet
 
Material:
Green steatite
Methof of manufacture:
Engraved
Decoration type:
Incision
Distinctive mark:
The contracted position
DIMENSIONS
 
PERIOD OF USE
Length (mm):
-
Epoque:
Neolithic
Heigth (mm):
39
Culture:
-
Diameter (mm):
-
Period:
Late Neolithic or Final Neolithic
Width (mm):
23
Face:
-
Thickness (mm):
6
Absolute chronology:
5300-3300 BC
Weight (g):
-
DISCOVERY
Date:
1902
Country:
Greece
District:
Thessaly
Town hall affiliation:
Volos
Village:
Dimini
Discovery findspot:
Neolithic settlement of Dimini
Condition of discovery:
Archaeological excavation
Discovery type:
Deposit
 
ANALYSES DETERMINATIONS
 
FILLED IN BY
Type:
-
Name:
Alexandra Christopoulou
Laboratory:
-
Institution:
National Archaeological Museum - Greece
No./Code:
-
Date:
21/11/2005
 
DEEPENINGS

Morphology of the object:

The soft dark green steatite, roughly ovoid in shape, has been shaped to a human figure in the contracted position. A small part of the stone has been sawn away at the bottom end of the plaque and from that cutting a V-shaped groove upwards indicates and separates the contracted legs from the body with the highly curved spine. Four incisions on the body, engraved in the form of angles outline the bent arm. Two holes have been drilled, each in the top of the two angles, most probably to be used for suspension. This same pattern has been also exercised on the other side of the plaque. The inspiration as well as the technique, the economy in engraving as well as the clearness of the lines, all point to the high intelligence the neolithic people had reached.

Decoration:

-

Inscription:

-

Analogies:

This artefact was found in the neolithic settlement of Dimini, in Thessaly, Greece. This site was excavated by a greek archaeologist, Christos Tsountas, at the beginning of the 20th cent., when very little was known about the Neolithic Age in the academic world. The publication, which appeared some five years after the excavation, in 1908, is still a basic reference for the neolithic period in Greece. Small details, however, such as the exact position of several objects, are missing. Thus neither the exact position nor the specific archaeological layer the stone plaque was found in, are known. Neither was it possible for the excavator to interprete then the figure on the plaque hidden behind the five crusial engraved lines. This was revealed many years later and after the finding of another similar object, hidden also in the thessalian plain. This second object (Flat pebble engraved as a human figure seated in a highly contracted position) was found in a neolithic site north of Dimini, called Magoula Karamourlar. Dim.0,04 X 0,033 m.

Interpretation:

Ornaments constitute an important category of objects for the understanding of the neolithic way of life. Beads, bracelets and pendants made of clay, stone, shell or bone are abundate in the neolithic settlements. So, neolithic man had a keen appreciation of beauty and naturally would like to make his presence felt, to distinguish himself from those around, even to become more attractive to the opposite sex. This specific pendant, however, could not be only decorative. The dipiction of the human body in this highly contracted position leads us to the fetus, that is in the period, that human being is in the womb (see design of proposed schematical development). Pregnancy and delivery were, of course, both very important and at the same time very dangerous phases in their life. So, it is rather obvious that an amulet shaped as a fetus would mean for the woman who had its protection, healthy pregnancy and good luck during delivery.
Bibliography:
-