Dancing at the Dawn of Agriculture

Dancing at the Dawn of Agriculture

by Yosef Garfinkel
     
 

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ISBN-10: 029272845X

ISBN-13: 9780292728455

Pub. Date: 06/28/2003

Publisher: University of Texas Press

As the nomadic hunters and gatherers of the ancient Near East turned to agriculture for their livelihood and settled into villages, religious ceremonies involving dancing became their primary means for bonding individuals into communities and households into villages. So important was dance that scenes of dancing are among the oldest and most persistent themes in

Overview

As the nomadic hunters and gatherers of the ancient Near East turned to agriculture for their livelihood and settled into villages, religious ceremonies involving dancing became their primary means for bonding individuals into communities and households into villages. So important was dance that scenes of dancing are among the oldest and most persistent themes in Near Eastern prehistoric art, and these depictions of dance accompanied the spread of agriculture into surrounding regions of Europe and Africa.

In this pathfinding book, Yosef Garfinkel analyzes depictions of dancing found on archaeological objects from the Near East, southeastern Europe, and Egypt to offer the first comprehensive look at the role of dance in these Neolithic (7000-4000 BC) societies. In the first part of the book, Garfinkel examines the structure of dance, its functional roles in the community (with comparisons to dance in modern pre-state societies), and its cognitive, or symbolic, aspects. This analysis leads him to assert that scenes of dancing depict real community rituals linked to the agricultural cycle and that dance was essential for maintaining these calendrical rituals and passing them on to succeeding generations. In the concluding section of the book, Garfinkel presents and discusses the extensive archaeological data—some 400 depictions of dance—on which his study is based.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780292728455
Publisher:
University of Texas Press
Publication date:
06/28/2003
Pages:
346
Product dimensions:
7.20(w) x 10.20(h) x 1.10(d)

Table of Contents

  • List of Figures
  • List of Tables
  • Acknowledgments
  • Part I. The Dance Analysis
    • Chapter 1. Introduction
    • Chapter 2. Structural Analysis of the Dance
    • Chapter 3. Functional Analysis of the Dance
    • Chapter 4. Cognitive Analysis of the Dancing Scenes
    • Chapter 5. Conclusions

  • Part II. The Data
    • Chapter 6. General Remarks Concerning the Data
    • Chapter 7. Neolithic Near East
    • Chapter 8. Halafian and Samarra Cultures
    • Chapter 9. Neolithic and Chalcolithic Iran
    • Chapter 10. Neolithic Southeast Europe
    • Chapter 11. Predynastic Egypt
    • Chapter 12. Later Examples from the Near East
    • Chapter 13. Appendix: The Figures with "Turned-Upwards Legs"

  • Bibliography
  • Index

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