Zoomorphic imagery and social process during the Early Bronze Age

The case of Koçumbeli-Ankara


  • Ebru Gizem Ayten Middle East Technical University, Ankara, Turkey
  • Çiğdem Atakuman Middle East Technical University, Ankara, Turkey




figurines, Early Bronze Age, Anatolia, ritual, centralization


Through the agency of animals, we think about our identity, landscape and society, and therefore animal imagery holds a special place in approaches to human thought. Through a study of the zoomorphic figurine assemblage recorded at the Early Bronze Age site of Koçumbeli-Ankara, we argue that the zoomorphic figurines of this time period were produced through a meaningful linking of particular images and raw materials to particular use contexts. For example, the ambiguously sexed zoomorphic figurines of clay are usually found within the settlement contexts, whereas the rest of the zoomorphic imagery, in the form of elaborately decorated and often male-sexed metal statues and standards, are found in ‘elite’ burials located in cemeteries. This occurs on the background of an emergent form of ritual control, which was negotiated through the separation of cemetery and settlement. In these contexts, the authority of the past was invoked via ancestral imagery through the careful employment of new raw materials, such as metals, that equally became agential in the separation of age, gender and class-based differences within society, at the eve of the centralization process in Anatolia.


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4. 08. 2023 — Updated on 28. 12. 2023




How to Cite

Ayten, E. G., & Atakuman, Çiğdem. (2023). Zoomorphic imagery and social process during the Early Bronze Age: The case of Koçumbeli-Ankara. Documenta Praehistorica, 50, 270-289. https://doi.org/10.4312/dp.50.13