Goddess, Lost Ancestors, and Dolls: A Cultural Biography of the Ayia Irini Terracotta Statues

by Evi Gorogianni

Hesperia, Volume 80, Issue 4
Page(s): 635-655
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/10.2972/hesperia.80.4.0635
Year: 2011


A biographical approach to the study of material culture reveals that an object’s meaning usually varies in different episodes of its life history. This article examines the terracotta statues from the temple at Ayia Irini on Kea in three contexts of experience: (1) their initial context in the Bronze Age temple; (2) their reuse in the Iron Age phase of the temple; and (3) their “permanent” exhibition in the Archaeological Museum of Kea. Although the meaning with which the statues were imbued has varied in these contexts, they have retained the status of sacred objects.