Over the course of my first year in college, I became the recipient of Brown University's Undergraduate Teaching and Research Awards, which granted me $5,000 to create a sculpture series based on my research and personal experience in participating in the excavation of Koutroulou Magoula, a Neolithic tell site located in central Greece. I worked alongside co-director Professor Hamilakis and other students in the field for 4 weeks, discovered numerous Neolithic findings, and gained considerable knowledge about Greek Neolithic history and basic archaeological methodology. I kept journals throughout the four weeks, and they can be found here.
Among all the findings were the enigmatic clay figurines. They are usually no taller than 2 inches and possess traits of a mixture of anthropomorphism and zoomorphism. Because of the lack of survived written records, the meaning of their existence remains mysterious.
My sculpture series does not aim to decode these figurines. Rather, it is an embodiment of my artistic interpretations of the figurines, my humble understanding of archaeology, and my intimate experience of fieldwork. All the figurines were found in broken pieces in the field, never complete. All of their former colorful appearances faded, left only traces. So I extrapolated their looks from found parts, and imagined their decorations from pottery pieces. I employed modern technology of 3D modelling and printing to create a conversation between the past and present, and I designed a connection mechanism so that they can be assembled, dissembled, and reassembled. The nonexistence of my sculpture's definite forms alludes to the figurines' inexplicable meaning, and the process of constant reassembly respects archaeologists' assiduous and meticulous efforts of reconstructing the past from pieces.