Victoria Clayton   -                               

  Visible Bodies, Resistant Selves: The Iron Age Figurines From Tell Ahmar

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Dr Victoria Clayton investigates the 2600 year old figurines from Tell Ahmar, North Syria - standing female figurines, horses and horse rider figurines – and asks questions of the figurine-makers' identity, intention and impact of these small images on their lives.

Fertility goddesses, the great goddess, the earth mother goddess... In Near Eastern archaeology there is a pervasive connection between human figurines and religious beliefs or magical ritual. Is this justified?

Some ancient figurines were certainly used for magical or religious purposes. This is known from texts. But how are figurines found without the benefit of texts to be interpreted?

  • What other questions can archaeologists ask about human figurines?
  • What ideas can be used to interpret human figurines?
  • Are there richer, more fascinating stories to be discovered about the makers of the figurines?

What is it about?

2600 years ago Tell Ahmar was a bustling commercial city on the Euphrates River. A glorious royal residence, reminiscent of the magnificence of the Assur palaces was built on the remains of thousands of years of prior occupation; King Shalmaneser III’s home away from home when visiting the outlying provinces of his great empire.

In the middle city, merchants created small-scale enterprises, selling their products as far away as the capital Assur. One businessman, possibly named Hanni, may have had such a workshop, where archaeological excavations have recovered a number of baked clay figurines, human and animal…

Figurines, Slaves and Soldiers is the result of 5 years of doctoral research into the meaning of figurines from the site of Tell Ahmar, located on the Euphrates River, North Syria. Resistance, power and the ‘world-turned-upside-down’ are the themes of this journey back 2600 years to the world of the figurine makers, who were living in the household of a wealthy businessman during the period of the Neo-Assyrian Empire.

Based on solid research using post-colonial and gender theory but written for a general reading audience of archaeology enthusiasts, Figurines, Slaves and Soldiers aims to demonstrate that archaeology can give voice to those who are not always heard

I believe strongly that researchers should share their findings with a general readership and that is exactly what I have done with my doctoral research. Visible Bodies, Resistant Selves is the result of reworking my thesis to make the results accessible to people who have always had a fascination with the ancient past.

There's a wealth of information here that is truly intriguing. It lights up the imagination of an almost lost people (s) history, and provides insights into the 'common' man/woman, which is something not often found with historical texts.

It kept me interested all the way through
Amanda Spedding
Writer

Launching my book at the Melbourne Writers' Festival.

Divided into 24 chapters, Visible Bodies, Resistant Selves: The Iron Age Figurines From Tell Ahmar describes the story of my research into the baked clay figurines and especially there makers. The chapters are not long; they are presented as pieces of a jigsaw puzzle that is figurine interpretation. They can be comfortably read in one sitting and give you time to digest the information before offering another piece of the puzzle.

I take you on a journey of discovering into the meaning of the figurines. I lead you through my research process so you can see how my ideas develop and reach their fascinating conclusion.

Visible Bodies, Resistant Selves: The Iron Age Figurines From Tell Ahmar includes many figures, including sketches, plans and photos which bring the Tell Ahmar excavation to life and provide sound material evidence for my ideas.

Click here to buy the Amazon kindle or print copy editions of the book:

Click here to buy book as a downloadable pdf:

Figurines are fascinating.

Ancient figurines grab our attention like no other type of archaeological artefact.

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Why?

Because they offer an insight into the thought-processes which led to the creation of that figurine. If archaeologists ask the figurine the right questions, we might be able to learn something of the world-view of the person who made it.

That’s what’s so exciting about studying figurines.

They give us a direct insight into how people thought in the ancient past because figurines are, above all, symbolic. They represent the thinking behind their manufacture.

Visible Bodies, Resistant Selves: The Iron Age Figurines From Tell Ahmar is a riveting tale of life 2600 years ago. The characters - Hanni the businessman with Assyrian connections, Nannaya the slave, Neo-Assyrian soldiers – and their interactions in the city of Shalmaneser.

In the Book, You Will Discover:

How To Think About Figurine Form and Why Figurines are Not Evidence of a Fertility Cult

Use these benefit sections to highlight some aspects of your book. Not sure what to pick? It's whatever will lead to the greatest positive outcome for your readers. Highlight your best chapters and most exciting discoveries.

How to Think About Context and Why Archaeological, Social and Historical Contexts are So Important

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5000 years before the first mention of the goddess Venus, this was made…

How the Traditional Approaches to Figurine Interpretation Don't Work

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The Key Question, So Often Overlooked in Figurine Interpretation, Which Provided the Final Clue to Their Meaning

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Neo-Assyrian soldiers at Kar Shalmaneser (artist's impression)

Neo-Assyrian soldiers at Kar Shalmaneser (artist's impression)

The Fascinating Ancient Town of Til Barsip; Who Lived There and What Were Their Lives Like?

Use these benefit sections to highlight some aspects of your book. Not sure what to pick? It's whatever will lead to the greatest positive outcome for your readers. Highlight your best chapters and most exciting discoveries.

What Do the Figurines From Ancient Til Barsip Really Mean?

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The photos, maps and illustrations work decidedly well to create a fuller picture of life and times, and provides an atmospheric meld between narrative and visual stimuli.

Amanda Spedding
Writer
www.ancientfigurines.com Victoria Clayton

About the Author: Dr Victoria Clayton

Victoria Clayton is an archaeologist who has excavated in Syria and Turkey, Victoria and Tasmania. She spent five years on three continents researching the figurines from Tell Ahmar, for which she was awarded her doctorate from the University of Melbourne in 2001. Victoria believes archaeology is for everyone. Her books, Visible Bodies, Resistant Selves: The Figurines from Tell Ahmar and an edition for teenagers, Figurines, Slaves and Soldiers, bring her doctoral research to life for people who are not professional archaeologists but wish they were! Join this happy community on facebook, twitter and pinterest.

Brandi Forrest Archaeology student

I recently had the pleasure of meeting Dr. Clayton and extremely enjoyed our discussions on figurines and therefore decided to purchase her book. It is a witty narrative which delivers an excellent introduction to archaeology and figurines. Dr. Clayton, drawing on her experiences excavating in Syria, aptly depicts life on an excavation project, as well as the thrill of discovering and researching the background of figurines. It is a quick read and provides amazing insight into the ancient world and archaeology. I highly recommend it!


http://www.ancientfigurines.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/12/book.jpg visible bodies resistant selves
Visible Bodies, Resistant Selves: The Iron Age Figurines From Tell Ahmar

Visible Bodies, Resistant Selves: The Iron Age Figurines From Tell Ahmar challenges traditional ways of thinking about figurines.

Don't you want to know what they really mean?

Click here to buy the Amazon kindle or print copy editions of the book:

Click here to buy book as a downloadable pdf:

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