Lands of the Shamans: Archaeology, Cosmology and Landscape [Paperback]

Dragoş Gheorghiu (Editor); George Nash (Editor); Herman Bender (Editor); Emilia Pasztor (Editor)

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ISBN: 9781785709548 | Published by: Oxbow Books | Year of Publication: 2018 | Language: English 288p, H240 x W170 (mm)

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Lands of the Shamans


‘Shamanism’ is a term with specific anthropological roots, but which is used more generally to cover a set of interactions between a practitioner or ‘shaman’ and a spiritual or religious realm beyond the reach of most members of the community. It has often been considered from an anthropological viewpoint, but this book gathers the most recent studies on a subject which has not been comprehensively studied by archaeologists. By putting together experts from two continents who have studied the phenomenon of shamanism, Lands of the Shamans through carefully selected case studies uses the archaeological evidence to construct the shamans’ worldview, landscape and cosmology.

Recent interdisciplinary studies support the idea of the existence of shamanistic representations as long ago as the Middle/Upper Palaeolithic, but at the same time, do not follow developments during the history of humankind. As ethnographic evidence shows, shamanistic activity represents a complex phenomenon that is extremely diversified, its spiritual activity possessing a large variety of expressions in the material culture. In other words, shamanism could be defined as a series of differing spiritual world views which model the material culture and the landscape.

Throughout the archaeological record of all prehistoric and historic periods, there is a series of visual representations and objects and landscape alterations that could be ascribed to these differing world views, many thought to represent shamanistic cognition and activity. The shaman’s landscape reveals itself to the world as one of multifaceted spiritual and material activity.

Consequently, this first book dedicated completely to the shamanistic landscape presents in fresh perspective the landscapes of the lower and upper worlds as well as their phenomenological experience. Case Studies come from Europe, North America and Asia.

Table of Contents

Introduction: Towards a Landscape for Shamans
The Editors
1. The Horse as a Shamanic Landscape Device: The Distribution of Equus on Upper Palaeolithic Open-Air Rock Art Sites of the Iberian Peninsula
George Nash and Sara Garcês
2. Göbekli Tepe – A Shamanic Landscape
Dragoş Gheorghiu
3. Caves and the Sacral Landscape: A Case Study on the Neolithic and Early Aeneolithic Periods in South-east Central Europe
Vladimír Peša
4. As Above, So Below: St Melangell and the Celestial Journey
Caroline Malim
5. Songs of the Shamans? Acoustical Studies in European Prehistory
Chris Scarre
6. Sights and Sounds of Selected Sacred and Shamanic Landscapes
Paul Devereux
7. Bronze Age Deposits in the Carpathian Basin – Markers for Spirit-Animated Landscape? The Role of Structured Deposition in Understanding the Worldview of Bronze Age Europe
Emília Pásztor
8. Landscape Transformation and Continuity in Shamanic Rock Art of Northern Asia
Ekaterina Devlet
9. Shamans’ Landscapes: note sur la psychologie du shaman pre et protohistorique plus particulierement en Eurasie
Michel Louis Séfériadès
10. The Mystery of the Bird-Nester: The Shaman Which Lévi-Strauss Did Not Recognise
Enrico Comba
11. Bear Myths and Traditions: The Moon and Mounds in North America
Herman Bender
12. To Re-Enact Is to Remember: Envisioning a Shamanic Research Protocol in Archaeology
Apela Colorado and Ryan Hurd

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