The Ain Ghazal

Denise Schmandt-Besserat is the author of the Ain Ghazal “Monumental Figures that focuses on the Pre-Pottery Neolithic B scenes of the Ain Ghazal. Article is based on the discovery of buried plaster statuary arts whose analysis gives critical historical events in a more systematic way. Whereas the mainly explored occupation of the Ain Ghazal in the Pre-Pottery Neolithic B, (PPNB) period is largely covered, the exploration of new symbolism among the Ain Ghazal does not receive much attention. During the period between 7250-6000 B.C., the Ain Ghazal created many new symbols that can be interpreted to envisage what has never been discovered. The author is motivated by the fact that symbols too are important in studying the history of the Ain Ghazal; for instance, the disappearance of the symbols following the nomadic pastoralism way of life that they adopted.   

There are seven elements that the author addresses in the article. First the analysis begins by defining this genre and how it has evolved from 6750 to 6500 B.C. Secondly, the REF compares this period with other parallel elements of the site, a comparison with the modern-day assemblage in Levant, an overview of the beginning of the PPNB statuary and the subsequent interpretations of ancestors, deities, and ghost statutes. Finally, the author draws the on the importance of monumental plastic art.    

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The first instance the author uses research of other scholars is reference to the existence of the Ain Ghazal community as a biggest Neolithic settlement in Near East. Generally, the author uses works of other scholars when there is need to give critical evidence with reference to giving facts in figures, a passed period, and in describing the status of the statues. The author uses outside sources to validate claims made in the article and make the arguments systematic. The use of other scholars’ works applies in the description of monumental facts with regard to size, the period of discovery, and photographs of the monuments.       

The author as mentioned above uses the details of the monumental facts to analyze the past history that she restructuring. She merges the photographic evidence of the arts from all over the world and weaves them together to describe the way of life of the Ain Ghazal in the PPNB. The statues are described in terms of materials used for instance, Schmandt-Besserat (1998) notes, “Analysis of the material showed, however, that they belonged to at least four figures apparently similar to the Ain Ghazal” (p. 8). This kind of description helps in the identification of the origin of a monument. The artifacts are also described in terms in terms of their measurements like height, length, and width.     

The sections all contribute to the overall knowledge of how the symbols were used as instrument of sharing ideas. The sections give the different nature of how the monuments were styled to reflect the shift from domestic to public rituals of the Ain Ghazal communities. The sections give seasonal events that were critical to the communities, the deities to worship, and other social events that appealed to the Ain Ghazal.    

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Schmandt-Besserat (1998)  notes that public rituals as studied using the monumental arts of the Ain Ghazal were the defining parameters of the way the society practices agriculture, the way to celebrate events of the season that helped to create specific dates and times, the gods to be worshipped, among other activities that were practiced. The interrelations among the different activities of the Ain Ghazal communities can be studied through art as the author subdivided the different sections. The study of monuments in the ancient times can therefore be used an approach to study history.      

Schmandt-Besserat (1998) concludes that the monumental statuary was a result of the agriculture-based lifestyle of the Ain Ghazal. Their communities were mainly agriculturalists and the monuments could bring the people together and share ideologies that brought people together, restructured the society, made it necessary to have a leadership structure, and to administer communal resources.  

The authors approach to use rat and culture in the study of the Ain Ghazal communities is interesting because she develops a unique way of proving the historical analysis of events. This approach makes sense as it is in line with the facts given by other scholars. The fact that this approach uses elaborate figures to justify the events is a demonstration of the superiority of Schmandt-Besserat work. 

The author does not discuss the use of art and culture to for the periods before the PPNB. The article is limited to only the Ain Ghazal communities and all the sections contribute to the single theme and analysis of these communities. The author limits information even in situations that further elaboration would have been welcoming to the reader.

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The author brings out the superiority of use of art and culture in the study of Ain Ghazal and communities in the olden days. It is therefore possible to archeologists to study passed events through the interpretation of other arts by man. For instance, in the agrarian revolution, the design of tools can be analyzed to study how different communities practiced agriculture and the impact tools on the output.

Art and culture is a significant part of understanding our history as early as the PPNB. Though this is not a very conventional way of structuring the history of early communities, as Schmandt-Besserat (1998) has shown in her article, a systematic analysis of the historical facts of monuments with regard to description of materials used, the dimensions, the interrelations, and place of origin can be interwoven to bring out rich history of the olden societies. Art and culture therefore remains critical part of the human history as it defines the religious nature of human beings, the socio-economic status, and the political organization of mankind. Art and culture is also brought out as a significant part of the human experience since the PPNB and as such, this genre can be used to study the development of our administrative societies and the emergence of states.

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