Ritual happens in distinct places – in temples, in caves, along pilgrimage routes – and religious activities there incorporate a diverse set of objects such as holy water, cult statues, and sacred texts. Understanding religious ritual requires viewing it not as a disembodied event, but as emplaced, grounded in both built and natural surroundings, and integrated with its associated material objects. Here authors examine various religious practices in the Greco-Roman world and pilgrimage routes in contemporary Israel. Other contributions focus on the East, on domestic religion in prehistoric Taiwan, and the palimpsest of ritual activity in Buddhist China. One author considers not just ritual’s built and natural setting, but also the landscape of the human mind. By way of conclusion, many of the recurring issues concerning the material and topographic matrix of ritual practice are expanded upon in a final meditation on sacred space. The papers in this volume, with their disciplinary, geographic, and chronological diversity, will serve as a resource for theoretical approaches to the study of ritual practice that may have broad cross-cultural application and provide new insight into the relationship between ritual and place.
The volume is based on a conference held at Brown University.
Table of Contents
1. Introduction (Claudia Moser and Cecelia Feldman)
2. Linear Reflections: Ritual Memory and Material Repetition at the Thirteen Altars at Lavinium (Claudia Moser)
3. Re-Placing the Nile: Water and Mimesis in the Roman Practice of Egyptian Religion at Pergamon (Cecelia A. Feldman)
4. Itinerant Creeds: The Chinese Northern Frontier (Paola Demattè)
5. The Dig at the End of the World: Archaeology and Apocalypse. Tourism in the Valley of Armageddon (Isaac Morrison)
6. Power of Place: Ruler, Landscape and Ritual Space at the Sanctuaries of Labraunda and Mamurt Kale in Asia Minor (Christina Williamson)
7. Transforming the Surroundings and its Impact on Cult Rituals: The Case Study of Artemis Mounichia in the Fifth Century (Chryssanthi Papadopoulou)
8. The Sacred Houses in Neolithic Wansan Society (Chih-hua Chiang and Yi-chang Liu)
9. Putting Religious Ritual in its Place: On Some Ways Humans’ Cognitive Predilections Influence the Locations and Shapes of Religious Rituals (Robert N. McCauley)
10. The Aptitude for Sacred Space (Ian B. Straughn)
Reviews & Quotes
"This theoretical discussion highlights the intimate connection between ritual and place."
Current World Archaeology (June/July 2014)