Session: #514

Theme & Session Format

6. Material culture studies and societies
Session format:
Regular session

Title & Content

Small but Significant: Exploring Neo-Eneolithic Miniature Representations as Material Objects
A striking category of finds from Neolithic and Copper Age sites in Mediterranean, South-East and East Europe are the miniature items that embody certain aspects of prehistoric life in non-perishable materials. Depictions of humans, animals and means of transportation, architectural entities such as houses or stoves, adornments, clothing or tools, all of them are a valuable source of information for studying non-literate societies.
Miniatures have been traditionally considered as art and religious objects. This approach gave birth to durable paradigms and narratives. On the other hand, miniatures are, above all, artifacts which come from archaeological contexts. Consequently, they could be and should be quantified, contextualized and investigated as material objects.
Our session seeks to address empirical approaches to the Neolithic and Copper Age miniatures from the 7-4 millennia BC in the Mediterranean, South-East and Eastern Europe and focus on the following research questions:
- What are the theoretical aspects of the concept of miniaturism? How can it be used in better understanding of technical, functional and symbolic features of small objects and ‘replicas’?
- How do miniatures occur in the archaeological record? What are the circumstances of their discovery in various archaeological contexts of the Neo-Eneolithic?
- What is the relation between miniatures and other archaeological finds? Are they ‘special’ finds? If so, how ‘special’ are they compared to the ‘usual’ mass finds?
- How and what modern interdisciplinary methods can be applied to study these prehistoric objects? What is their potential for understanding the taphonomy, function and meaning of miniatures?
- What are the social implications of the above-mentioned research questions? If there is a ‘society of miniatures’, to which extent can it mirror a ‘society of people’?
Presentations on various approaches of Neo-Eneolithic miniatures as material things are welcome.
Neolithic, Copper Age, Miniatures, South-Eastern Europe, Eastern Europe, Mediterranean
Session associated with MERC:
Session associated with CIfA:
Session associated with SAfA:
Session associated with CAA:
Session associated with DGUF:
Session associated with other:


Main organiser:
Liudmyla Shatilo (Germany) 1
Christina Marangou (Greece) 2
Goce Naumov (Republic of North Macedonia) 3
Stanislav Terna (Germany) 1
1. Kiel University, Institute of Pre- and Protohistoric Archaeology
2. Independent researcher
3. Goce Delcev University of Štip, Institute of History and Archaeology