Dana Shaham

Dana Shaham

Department of Archaeology

Subject: Pleistocene/Holocene Linear Art in the Mediterranean Basin

Supervisor: Prof. Anna Belfer-Cohen

Abstract: Archaeological evidence indicate crucial socio-cultural and economic shifts in the Mediterranean Basin during the Terminal Pleistocene, reflecting a major transformation in human history- the shift from hunting-gathering lifeways to agricultural communities. The Levantine Natufian culture (ca. 15,000 years BP) can serve as an example of such dynamics, portraying intense artistic activity, largely absent from the preceding cultural entities. My MA research on the Natufian art resulted in an original methodology for the study of prehistoric art, drawing on art history methodologies.  The detailed comparisons provide new insights into the Natufian art (aesthetic qualities, visual languages, style sequences), with the graphic-linear style being prominent among Natufian art manifestations. Since the research brought to light a great potential of cross-cultural comparisons, the PhD research aims to establish an expanded, detailed, cross-cultural corpus of linear style artworks derived from Terminal Pleistocene Mediterranean cultures. Accordingly, this research is supposed to contribute new criteria for assessing   cultural dynamics recognized and defined in the Natufian unique phenomena. Those new criteria will also enable innovative pan Mediterranean cross-cultural comparisons and may contribute actual data on the phenomenology of art and aesthetics, under the particular circumstances of the unique turnover in human history.


Presidential Stipend 2015/16