Style and Society in Ceramic Neolithic Cyprus

Joanne T. Clarke

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The Ceramic Neolithic period in Cyprus is distinctive because of the multifaceted similarity observable in the surviving material culture. It is only in the ceramic repertoire that regional variation is clearly detected and this is most evident in the surface treatment on decorated pottery. Regional variation in material culture is known to have occurred in prehistoric societies where external influences acted upon internal social and economic structures, thereby contributing to diversity. In Ceramic Neolithic Cyprus there is little evidence for external influences and consequently the specific diversity in surface treatment on painted pottery would appear to have been caused by other factors. The aim of this study is to examine the archaeological evidence from Ceramic Neolithic Cyprus with a view to understanding why regional variation can be observed in the decoration on pottery while the society as a whole was essentially homogeneous in all other aspects of its material culture. It is argued that regional variation in the decoration on pottery is expressed as style and that it represented formally structured social behaviours that evolved as a way for individuals and groups to negotiate their economic and social space.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)65-80
Number of pages16
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2001

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