On Interpretation of Material Sources: Synchronic and Diachronic Approach

Antonova Elena V.

In this paper, dedicated to the memory of B.A. Litvinsky, the author defends the possibility of combining synchronic and diachronic approach in semiotic study of monuments of preliterate cultures. The object under discussion is the Anau culture and the «Oxos civilization» (BMAC) in Central Asia in the Eneolithic and Bronze Periods (V–II millenium BC), ornaments, anthropomorphous sculpture and glyptics. The accent is put on the ways of transmitting information in societies with simple structure without technical means for communication. Variability of signs in synchronic and diachronic aspects helps to establish the semantics of symbolic signs by means of comparing it with iconic ones. Complication of social structure causes complication of the Weltbild and its visual aspect. At the same time, the signs denoting mythic patrons undergo changes. Images of anthropomorphous deities develop and take definite forms under the influence of images used in developed civilizations. The picture of the world begins to be represented not only in symbolic signs, but also in iconic ones.

Keywords: deciphering methods, semiotics, archaic and traditional cultures, synchrony and diachrony, Anau culture, «Oxos civilization», mythological characters