a1 School of World Art Studies, University of East Anglia, Norwich, NR4 7TJ Email: Joanne.Clarke@uea.ac.uk
During the Middle Pre-pottery Neolithic B in the southern Levant the use of lime plaster in both ritual and domestic contexts increased significantly relative to previous periods. Its properties of whiteness, purity, plasticity and antisepsis would have made it a natural choice for decorating, and through the act of colouring disparate categories of objects were linked together. Plaster appears to have transcended its own inherent value as a material due to its interconnectedness with mortuary ritual. Because of its ubiquity, this socially ascribed value was accessible to everyone. This article will claim that plaster, and the act of plastering both ritual and domestic contexts played a key role in the creation and maintenance of community cohesion and social well-being.
(Received May 27 2011)
(Accepted October 24 2011)
(Revised November 11 2011)
Joanne Clarke is a senior lecturer in the School of World Art Studies and Museology at the University of East Anglia. Her most recent research is concerned with current approaches to the study of long-term changes in the technologies of early agricultural communities, specifically basketry, plaster and pottery. In particular, she is interested in how everyday materials become embodied with cultural significance, and whether certain technologies, because of their sophistication or degree of difficulty, held particular social meanings.