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On the Interpretation of Stelae in the Cult Complexes of Northern Mesopotamia During the Pre-Pottery Neolithic

https://doi.org/10.17746/1563-0102.2018.46.4.013-021

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Abstract

On the basis of interdisciplinary and semiotic approaches, the paper interprets the meaning of vertical stelae/pillars/ pilasters at the cult complexes of Northern Mesopotamia during the transition to the Neolithic. General trends in the content of the rituals practiced at the initial stage of sedentism are described. One of the central ideas was that of procreation/ fertility/prosperity. Monumental stelae, pillars, and pilasters of sacral complexes of that time in Upper Mesopotamia, while representing zoo-anthropomorphic divine patrons, might have another meaning, referring to the male procreative force. The shift to sedentism likely contributed to the formation of the cult of deities associated with specific locations and human groups. The ancestor cult was related to the groups’ totems, as evidenced by Northern Mesopotamian totemic beliefs typical of the hunting-gathering societies and differing from those practiced by the early farmers. Certain religious innovations, while being transformed, regularly appear in later cultures of the Ancient Near East, and are attested by both the archaeological evidence and written sources.

About the Author

T. V. Kornienko
Voronezh State Pedagogical University
Russian Federation

Lenina 86, Voronezh, 394043



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For citation:


Kornienko T.V. On the Interpretation of Stelae in the Cult Complexes of Northern Mesopotamia During the Pre-Pottery Neolithic. Archaeology, Ethnology & Anthropology of Eurasia. 2018;46(4):13-21. (In Russ.) https://doi.org/10.17746/1563-0102.2018.46.4.013-021

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