Ioulia Tzonou-Herbst

in The Oxford Handbook of the Bronze Age Aegean

Published in print January 2012 | ISBN: 9780199873609
Published online September 2012 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Handbooks in Archaeology


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  • Classical Studies
  • Classical Art and Architecture
  • Greek and Roman Archaeology



A recent thought concerning Aegean prehistoric figurines was penned by Colin Renfrew. The trajectory of Renfrew's scholarship parallels the trends in the study of Aegean Bronze Age figurines. In 1969, he produced the typological sequence of Early Cycladic figurines. After the establishment of typologies and chronologies, scholars have searched for interpretations based on certain criteria, and then they questioned whether the archaeological record preserves any clues to help uncover the meaning figurines had for their makers and owners. Before discussing the intricate problem of meaning, this article describes the archaeological evidence, the various types of figurines—Helladic, Minoan, and Cycladic—and their excavated contexts. It also considers methodologies of interpretation from different points of view: religion, identity, and context in archaeology.

Keywords: figurines; Colin Renfrew; Aegean Bronze Age; religion; identity; context; archaeology

Article.  5215 words. 

Subjects: Classical Studies ; Classical Art and Architecture ; Greek and Roman Archaeology

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