Thesis on Ancient Greek Sculptures Wins National Archaeological Award

Kourotrophos figurines from the Mycenae Museum (c. 1300-1180 BCE). Photo by University of Hawaii News website

Two archaeologists from the Universities of Hawaii and Florida won the award for the “Best Pre-PhD Paper” at the 2019 Annual Meeting of the Archaeological Institute of America earlier this week.

Chelsea Gardner from the University of Hawaii and her co-author Katie Fine from Florida State University were honored with the award for a talk titled ”Mycenaean Kourotrophoi Figurines and Lateralization Bias: How Recent Neurological Research Explains the Left-Cradling Phenomenon”.

The talk was given by Gardner at the January 2018 Archaeological Institute of America meeting in Boston, Massachusetts.

According to the University of Hawaii news website, Gardner and Fine’s paper supported the argument that the depiction of women holding infants in the ancient Mycenaean ”kourotrophoi” figurines intentionally reflects the neurobiological left-cradling bias.

This bias is the result of the brain’s emotional motivation, which comes from the right-hemisphere, as well as an evolutionary adaptation for successful infant nurturing.

A kourotrophos figurine in ancient Greek art is an early portrayal of a figure holding a baby.

With the term Mycenaean Greece or the Mycenaean civilization, archaeologists are referring to the last phase of the Bronze Age in ancient Greece, which lasted approximately from 1600 to 1100 B.C.