As Sally Crawford convincingly argued (“The Archaeology of Play Things: Theorising a Toy Stage in the ‘Biography’ of Objects”, Childhood in the Past 2, 2009, 55-70), any object may become a toy in the hands of a child, so it is challenging to identify it without archaeological context. This is particularly true for stone pebbles and plaques, which have been long regarded as meaningless objects. However, they occur either as a single object or in sets in tombs and sanctuary deposits in the Greek world. The frequent association with sub-adult burials seems to suggest that at least some of these pebbles and spheres were game tools (marbles perhaps?), but they might have also been considered particularly valuable (also due to the intrinsic properties and colours of the stones?), and therefore used as ritual objects. This paper aims to draw attention to an issue that has been neglected for a long time, to present some intriguing archaeological contexts containing pebbles, and to focus on different interpretations.

‘Playing’ with Stones : Stone Pebbles in the Greek World: Game Pieces, Tools or Ritual Objects? / C. Lambrugo (MONOGRAPHIES INSTRUMENTUM). - In: Toys as Cultural Artefacts in Ancient Greece, Etruria, and Rome / [a cura di] V. Dasen, M. Vespa. - Drémil-Lafage : Editions Mergoil, 2022 Dec. - ISBN 9782355181290. - pp. 129-140

‘Playing’ with Stones : Stone Pebbles in the Greek World: Game Pieces, Tools or Ritual Objects?

C. Lambrugo
2022

Abstract

As Sally Crawford convincingly argued (“The Archaeology of Play Things: Theorising a Toy Stage in the ‘Biography’ of Objects”, Childhood in the Past 2, 2009, 55-70), any object may become a toy in the hands of a child, so it is challenging to identify it without archaeological context. This is particularly true for stone pebbles and plaques, which have been long regarded as meaningless objects. However, they occur either as a single object or in sets in tombs and sanctuary deposits in the Greek world. The frequent association with sub-adult burials seems to suggest that at least some of these pebbles and spheres were game tools (marbles perhaps?), but they might have also been considered particularly valuable (also due to the intrinsic properties and colours of the stones?), and therefore used as ritual objects. This paper aims to draw attention to an issue that has been neglected for a long time, to present some intriguing archaeological contexts containing pebbles, and to focus on different interpretations.
Pebbles; tools; tokens
Settore L-ANT/07 - Archeologia Classica
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/2434/947911
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