Religion, Material Culture and Archaeology
Religion, Material Culture and Archaeology offers a new understanding of the materiality of religion. By drawing on the field of archaeological theory and method, the relationship between religion and material culture is explored. It is argued that the material elements of religious life have been largely neglected by the discipline of religious studies, while at the same time religion has been traditionally seen as problematic for archaeologists. Why do we not talk of the discipline of the archaeology of religion, in the same way we do the anthropology of religion, or the sociology of religion?
The volume considers the historical problems of approaching the material elements of religious life and bridges the methodological gap between religious studies and archaeology by proposing a new way of understanding the materiality of religion – as active, engaged and projecting a level of autonomous social agency. Finally, the critical examination of archaeological approaches to the materiality of religion is furthered through the consideration of non-archaeological ways of examining the social roles that material culture plays in human life.
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academic action active agency Alfred Gell anthropology approach archaeological interpretation archaeological past archaeological record archaeological theory archaeology of religion artefacts aspects assumptions attempt Binford burial Catalhoyuk chapter cognitive archaeology communication concept contemporary context cosmological discipline of archaeology discourse Durkheim elements Eliade Eliade’s embodied engaged epistemology examination example explored function functionalist Gell Hodder human hunter-gatherer ideology individual interaction landscape archaeology Marxist material culture material objects material past material record material things material world materiality and religion materiality of religion meaning modern monuments nature Neolithic non-human numinous ofthe Parker-Pearson perceived perception perspective phenomenology polarity postprocessual archaeologists postprocessualist practice prehistoric primary problematic processual processual archaeology profane dichotomy pseudoarchaeology realm reflective relationship religion and material religious belief religious cosmologies religious experience religious landscapes Renfrew ritual role sacred and profane seen society spiritual structures studies in religion symbolic term religion textual theoretical thought Tilley transcendent Tylor understanding worldview