Iconical signs, indexical relations: bronze age stelae and statue-menhirs in the Iberian peninsula
Journal of Iberian Archaeology, 11, .
- Author's Original
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The adoption of theories of social action in Archaeology has opened up the way to consider the mutually constitutive relationship between the social and the material. In this context, Peircean semiotics – a theory of meaning embedded in experience – helps understanding the unfolding of this meaningful relationship in the past and the present. The case of Bronze Age (ca. 2200-825 BC) decorated stelae and statue-menhirs in the Iberian Peninsula is illustrative. They have been generally conceptualized as static containers of symbolic meanings. But understanding stelae and statue-menhirs as an integral and active part of social relations entails addressing them as signs of practices historically situated within a wider complex network of practices structuring social relations in a meaningful way. Stelae and statue-menhirs suggest multiple indexical relations that can be taken as evidence for social practices related to the structuration of collective identities, memories and places. This approach contributes to a renovated understanding of the historicized relationships between people and this type of remains.
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