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ISSN: 2690-5752

Journal of Anthropological and Archaeological Sciences

Review Article(ISSN: 2690-5752)

Investigating Hybridity: Neolithic Human-Bird Figurines from the Southern Levant Volume 5 - Issue 4

Estelle Orrelle1 and Liora Kolska Horwitz2*

  • 1Independent Scholar, University of East London, UK
  • 2National Natural History Collections, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Israel

Received:September 27, 2021   Published: October 21, 2021

Corresponding author: Liora Kolska Horwitz, National Natural History Collections, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Israel

DOI: 10.32474/JAAS.2021.05.000216


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In this paper, we explore ceramic figurines depicting human-bird therianthropes, from Neolithic sites in the Southern Levant. We argue that the choice of birds was not accidental as, aside from their attractive physical characteristics (e.g. ability to fly), they represented a class of animals that was still wild in a period that witnessed the domestication of many other taxa. These hybrid images reflect the “transfer” of animal properties to humans - the birds vital force, physical and spiritual attributes – thus, enabling assimilation of their extra-ordinary powers. We suggest that these figurines are part of a wider ontology created by Neolithic communities in this region which bound them to birds, especially raptors.

Keywords: Avian Images; Therianthropes; Neolithic Iconography; Hybrid Images

Abstract| Introduction| The Finds| Discussion| Conclusion| References|