Abstract: Heraldry for the Dead: The Engraved Stone Plaques of Neolithic Iberia


For over one hundred years, archaeologists have been captivated by the exquisite artistry of the engraved stone plaques of Neolithic Iberia. Found in hundreds of burials in southern Portugal and Spain, the plaques, most often made on slate, have been interpreted as representations of the European Mother Goddess. Systematic analyses of their form, design, and context suggest, however, an alternative explanation. This lecture presents evidence that the Iberian plaques were genealogical records of emerging elites and explores the implications of such an interpretation to our understanding of identity and social life in Neolithic Iberia.

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