Coroplastic Studies Interest Group
Promoting the Study of Sculptural Objects Made in Clay from Antiquity

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Last update:
January 3, 2015


About the Coroplastic Studies Interest Group
(Revised 1/3/15)

The Coroplastic Studies Interest Group (CSIG) was organized in 2007 under the auspices of the Archaeological Institute of America (AIA), as one of the 13 Interest Groups of the AIA that normally comprise AIA members. The CSIG took its name from the word koroplastes, which in Greek antiquity was the term used for a modeler of images in clay.

1. CSIG membership is international, although membership in the Archaeological Institute of America is required for membership in the CSIG. The CSIG operates as a not-for-profit, educational organization under the definition of the US Internal Revenue Service, but does not have 5013c status. Originally formed by archaeologists working at ancient sites around the Mediterranean and Europe, the CSIG welcomes membership from researchers studying terracotta figurines from other regions of the world and also has expanded to include anthropologists, historians, and interested specialists from other disciplines.

2. The study of terracotta figurines has changed dramatically in the past several years and continues to develop rapidly. Now, interpretive study can include analyses of the context, chronology, function, production, and sources and types of clay of terracotta figurines, as well as their distribution and display, and the religious, historical, social, economic, and political meanings of these diverse, ubiquitous, and important objects of material culture. CSIG now provides a venue for issues regarding developing studies of terracotta figurines. Its members propose and implement means for the distribution of ideas and data. CSIG particularly wishes to support and encourage scholars new to the field of coroplastic studies. The CSIG website also contains bibliographies related to coroplastic studies, web links to coroplastic research tools, and a directory of members with their areas of specialty and contact information.

3. Periodic meetings are held to discuss issues relative to the CSIG and to the study of terracotta figurines, although it is understood that the international nature of the organization precludes participation in these meetings for many who are members. A succinct summary of the proceedings of these meetings is found on the CSIG website and also is distributed promptly to the membership.

4. The CSIG promotes the systematic study and documentation of legally-excavated terracotta figurines. At the same time, it recognizes the necessity for responsible research regarding those figurines of unknown provenience and stratigraphic origin—those targeted and removed from scholarly attention by the 1970 UNESCO Convention on Cultural Property—so long as such research places those artifacts within the context of known objects, establishing relationships and correspondences with published research to the largest extent possible. Parameters of uncertainty must be clearly and openly stated at the outset of such research and in its presentation to specialists and to the public. In every instance, the aim of the CSIG is to promote high standards of scholarship and instruction in the area of coroplastic studies. Its members will alert colleagues to matters of fact and interpretation that may affect us all, and will support public education about why this study is important.

5.  The CSIG shall be:

• A forum that transcends national, cultural, linguistic, and disciplinary boundaries, open to all scholars regardless of class, gender, religion, race, or nationality;

• A pluralistic organization governed by democratic processes based upon widespread and collegial consultation.

7.  Membership in the CSIG comes with the understanding that there will be a cordial exchange of ideas, as well as an ethical and responsible use of material that may be shared but still is unpublished.

For more information contact Caitlín Elis Barrett, Chair,
Coroplastic Studies interest Group