Vasic, Milena

Free University of Berlin

Research Topic: Personal Adornment in the Neolithic Middle East: A Case Study of Çatalhöyük

Ms. Vasic’s doctoral thesis focuses on the development of body ornamentation at Neolithic Çatalhöyük (7400-6000 BC) and the link between external display and preferences behind it. This research puts the focus on inferring the social processes involved in the use of bodily decoration and establishing how these practices reflect the relationship between humans and things.
Çatalhöyük offers an excellent dataset to address these questions, as there are numerous burials as well as a large sample of personal adornment items from other types of contexts. The main contribution of this research is the synthesis of all aspects of personal adornment by bringing together the numerous types of artefacts in order to gain a fuller understanding of the personal adornment. Individually, one material class can never fully illuminate the complex relationships of humans and things, nor the manifestations of personal and communal identities, and the full suite of adornment needs to be analyzed together. Therefore, this research incorporates the large amount of beads and pendants (>38 000) of various materials, less numerous ornaments such as finger rings, armbands, pins, and collars, as well as pigments used for body painting. In order to understand the relationship between the Çatalhöyük inhabitants and their adornment, this research explores the contextual, spatial and temporal distribution of items of bodily ornamentation as well as their depiction on wall paintings and figurines.