Snakes in the plain! Contextualizing prehistoric near Eastern snake symbolism and early human behaviour

Date
2019
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Source Title
Anatolica
Print ISSN
0066-1554
Electronic ISSN
1875-6654
Publisher
Peeters Publishers
Volume
45
Issue
Pages
1 - 10
Language
English
Type
Article
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Abstract

The article attempts an alternative and anthropological-based hypothesis to explain the abundance of snake motives in the Earliest Near Eastern Neolithic, contrasted with their relative scarcity in later times. The focus is mainly, but not exclusively, on the Pre-Pottery Neolithic (PPN) of Southeast Turkey, with sites like Göbekli Tepe and Körtik Tepe having produced a huge number of snake motives applied to a variety of materials and items. The predominance of the snake motive is then related to venomous serpents being a cardinal thread to hominids and humans throughout their evolutionary history, and particularly to early farmers, where snakes were a notorious hidden danger for semisedentary, crop-cultivating communities.

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Published Version (Please cite this version)