Universiteit Leiden

nl en


Cultural continuities and discontinuities: the Neolithic ornament assemblages from Franchthi (Greece)

  • Catherine Perlès (University Paris Nanterre)
Thursday 5 October 2023
Van Steenis
Einsteinweg 2
2333 CC Leiden
Bakelszaal (A2.02a)

The remarkably long archaeological sequence from Franchthi offers a rare opportunity to study the conception, production and use of ornaments from a diachronic, rather than synchronic, perspective.

The rich Palaeolithic and Mesolithic ornament assemblages had brought to light an unexpected continuity throughout the millennia, despite frequent changes in the status of the cave and the economic basis. One would consequently have expected a similar continuity throughout the Neolithic, given a more permanent and uniform way-of-life. Once again, however, our expectations proved to be wrong: the Neolithic assemblages reveal several breaks in the conception and production of ornaments, leading to question the postulated continuity in occupation. This, in turn, leads us to revisit the introduction and development of the Neolithic in Greece, showing the great potential of ornaments as cultural markers when their rhythm of change can be faced with those of other technical and symbolic productions.

About the speaker

Catherine Perles is emeritus professor at the University of Paris X, Nanterre and author of the book The Early Neolithic in Greece. She has excavated the famous site of Franchthi Cave in Greece. She has conducted extensive technological research of chipped stone tool assemblages from Paleolithic, Mesolithic and Neolithic periods and has done research on ornaments, the topic of her talk today.

This website uses cookies.  More information.