The Rhyton from Danilo: Structure and Symbolism of a Middle Neolithic Cult-Vessel [Hardback]

Omer Rak(Author); Theresa Alt(Translator); Wayles Browne(Translator)

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ISBN: 9781842179772 | Published by: Oxbow Books | Year of Publication: 2011 | Language: English 208p,
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The Rhyton from Danilo


The so called rhyton from Danilo, an archaeological site near the coastal town of Sibenik in Dalmatia, Croatia, is a four-legged Neolithic vessel made of fired clay that according to the consensus of archaeological opinion was most likely a cult vessel used in rituals of unknown origin and content. "Danilo Culture" is the eponymous name bestowed on a culture flourishing in the period from about 5500-4500 BC at Danilo and at some neighbouring sites. This culture had great influence along the eastern Adriatic coast and its hinterland and produced a significant number of these vessels. Rhyta, which other Neolithic cultures also made, were dispersed throughout a vast area of southeast Europe, from Greece to the Alps. This book is an in-depth study of that mysterious, prehistoric archaeological artifact which, due to its antiquity, structure and symbolism, has become a kind of universal proto-matrix for all relevant mythological and spiritual structures of the Mediterranean zone of later, historic times.

Table of Contents

Introduction: Archaeology and the Symbol
1. The Find
2. The Cultural Sphere of the Rhyton
3. A Bear or... ?
4. Cinnabar
5. Shamans
6. A Snake, Water and Horns
7. A Spiral (Double)
8. The Vulva and the Plough
9. The Androgyne
10. The Phallus


Reviews & Quotes

"In this book, Rak has written one of the most comprehensive studies of these enigmatic objects that has yet appeared. Rak has read widely and thoughtfully in the archaeological literature, so that his discussions of the strictly archaeological aspects of his topic are well grounded. He has also explored other literatures, in anthropology, philosophy, mythology, and much else besides, and has applied a variety of perspectives derived from these sources to his subject."
Andrew M. T. Moore
American Journal Of Archaeology (October 2012)

"Following Perić’s (1996) study, this book by Omer Rak is the second comprehensive study of this particular type of vessel, translated into English from the Croatian language. Rak’s book about the Neolithic rhyton from Danilo is without a doubt an important contribution to the discussion of ritual objects which this reviewer – even if he cannot agree with several of the author’s statements – enjoyed reading because it connects different traditions of Old Europe and beyond. Rak has painted a colourful picture of Neolithic beliefs, which is one aspect of the past that scientific discourse tries to shed light on."
Heiner Schwarzberg
European Journal of Archaeology (15 (2), 2012)

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