THE THEORY OF REPETITION
The Theory of Repetition concerns the interpretation of Neolithic figurines. It has been proposed and sustained for the first time in 1992 by Laia Orphanidis and it is based on the fact that all what is steadily repeated is a symbol. It is schematically represented in the following table:
* Οrphanidis, L. 1990: “Neolithic Anthropomorphic Figurines of Laconia”, Laconian Studies, 10: 483-95.
Being responsible for the Neolithic Project of the Academy of Athens, Laia Orphanidis has worked on Neolithic figurine material for a long time and made comparative studies in older finds as well as research in a rich material from private collections in Thessaly, Greece, which she has started recently to publish for the first time. This material includes a number of over two thousand five hundred figurines.
The whole reassessment of the scientific method for the approaching of Neolithic figurines, as analyzed by Laia Orphanidis, is the result of her attempt to understand the forms of communication, through visual iconography (naturalistic or schematic), between the modeller and the Neolithic social group, given that every picture of the visible world includes elements of the invisible one, i.e. elements of concepts and emotions.
Her starting point is the fact that the modeller gives form to his thought and this form (the figurine) can traverse the physical world and be reconverted by human senses back into thought.
Her target is the isolation of those typological attributes which reveal systems of thought and behaviour.
Laia Orphanidis aims at finding common typological details in figurines unearthed up to now- at least among human figurine material- in order to proceed to their interpretation without the need of their accurate dating and find spots or even the broader area they have been found in.
Figurines being parts of behavioural systems are studied first in relation to other figurines and then in the social and personal frame of their modellers and their users.
Based on the general form and on the degree of repetition of the specific characteristics of figurines, she proposes an alternative methodological / interpretational approach to the subject.