Berk Collection photo

Berk Collection of Neolithic and Stone Age Figurines

Harlan J. and Pamela Berk donated a collection of over 350 carved and incised Neolithic vessel, head, neck, and body fragments of ceramic and stone. The fragments come from Southern Europe and West Asia and date to between 6800 and 4000 BCE. The clay and stone figurines and vessels produced in these areas over several thousand years demonstrate the interconnections between Aegean and Eastern European pre-historic cultures.

map of the mediterranean region showing vinca in serbia, thessalonia in greece, and anatolia in turkey
Objects from this collection originate from the Thessalonian, Vinča, and Anatolian regions shown here.

ca. 6800–5600 BCE

Discovered in northern Greece, most of these artifacts depict female features and may relate to fertility and reproduction.

Vinča (Yugoslavic)
ca. 4500–4000 BCE

Found in modern-day Serbia, east of Belgrade, this collection includes both human- and non-human-shaped artifacts. Some Vinča heads may be mask replicas - miniatures of larger wooden masks, possibly used for ritual and theatrical purposes. Many of the figures appear to have been votive offerings.

Anatolian (Kilia or Kiliya Type)
ca. 4500–4000 BCE

These artifacts from Turkey are known as marble "Stargazers" because of their upward-looking faces.