The Early Neolithic Broken World: the Role of Pottery
Breakage in Central and South-Eastern Europe
The Early Neolithic Broken World: the Role of Pottery Breakage in Central and South-Eastern Europe
One of the most materially evident yet socially obscured aspects of modern consumer society has been the increasingly dominant presence of broken objects, commonly denominated as rubbish. During the Neolithic period (ca. 6000BC), Central and South-eastern Europe were also to witness an unprecedented explosion of material remains, mostly pottery fragments, that would affect the social lives of local inhabitants, i.e. members of the Starčevo-Körös-Criş (SKC) and Linearbandkeramik (LBK) groups. However, as a consequence of our modern tendency to write (pre)history in stages defined by concepts of progress and economy, the Neolithic period is conventionally characterized as a world of economic blossoming, where sedentary lifestyles, domestic agricultural production, and economically-inspired innovations like pottery were introduced.
In contrast, the present study challenges this view by following Robb's (2013) redefinition of the Neolithic as a 'thing-heavy world', where broken objects become widespread. Thus, much like our present, the Neolithic can inform us of a unique form of knowledge and set of skills concerning what people do when objects break or are considered to be close to this outcome. Through the combination of use-wear, morphometric and failure analysis to study the breakage and alteration of pottery fragments, my PhD project is centred on answering the questions: how did breakage actions and broken objects inform social practices in Neolithic societies? What was the Early Neolithic social knowledge of breakage in Central and South-Eastern Europe? This latent and practical knowledge on the breakage of objects has long been an undervalued centrepiece of Neolithic lifestyles; this study attempts to bring it forth
UCL Overseas Research Scholarship
- BSc, Anthropological Sciences with Archaeological Orientation, University of Buenos Aires, 2014
- MA, Artefact Studies, UCL, 2015
Gordillo, I. and B. Vindrola-Padrós. 2017. Destruction and abandonment practices at La Rinconada, Ambato Valley (Catamarca, Argentina). Antiquity 91(355), pp. 155-172
- Conference papers
Vindrola-Padrós, B. and D. Moulding. 2016. A practical use of image analysis in the measurement of potsherds. Morph2016: Morphometric Applications in Archaeology and Anthropology UCL, London (UK). 26th May 2016.
Gordillo, I. and B. Vindrola. 2013. The end of things? Enquiring about destruction practices at La Rinconada (Catamarca). [¿El Fin de las Cosas?: Indagando sobre las prácticas destructivas en la Rinconada (Catamarca)] 18th National Argentine Archaeology Congress, La Rioja, April 22 – 26.