Archive for March, 2009

Next Seminar: The Archaeology of Religion and Ritual

Religion and ritual have been core concerns of archaeology for much of the discipline’s history. Many of the world’s most famous and impressive archaeological sites, from Stonehenge to the Pyramids of the Yucatan are often thought of as primarily religious or ritual sites. At the same time the study of ritual and religion has always had an ambiguous reputation within archaeology. Many scholars have regarded ritual and religion warily, as unrealistic subjects for investigation, poorly defined as phenomena, inaccessible through material evidence, or as merely convenient labels for the currently inexplicable in the archaeological record. It has been noted that even within post-processual archaeology with its notorious concern for the ‘ideational’ the term religion rarely crops up.

In this seminar we will discuss how archaeologists can approach ritual and religion. We will discuss whether they are clearly definable phenomena cross-culturally; whether they can be identified in the archaeological record; and how the study of ritual and religion impacts on other subjects within archaeology.


J. Brüch, “Ritual and Rationality” in European Journal of Archaeology 1999

T. Insoll, “Chapter 3: Current Approaches” in T. Insoll, Archaeology, Ritual, Religion

C. Renfrew, “The Archaeology of Religion” in Renfrew and Zubrow, The Ancient Mind

If you are interested in participating please email the Irish Institute of Hellenic Studies. 4pm Saturday 14th March 2009 at the Irish Institute of Hellenic Studies (51a Odos Notara)