In An Aesthetic Occupation Daniel Bertrand Monk unearths the history of the unquestioned political immediacy of “sacred” architecture in the conflict between Palestinians and Israelis. Monk combines groundbreaking archival research with theoretical insights to examine in particular the Mandate era—the period in the first half of the twentieth century when Britain held sovereignty over Palestine. While examining the relation between monuments and mass violence in this context, he documents Palestinian, Zionist, and British attempts to advance competing arguments concerning architecture’s utility to politics. Succumbing neither to the view that monuments are autonomous figures onto which political meaning has been projected, nor to the obverse claim that in Jerusalem shrines are immediate manifestations of the political, Monk traces the reciprocal history of both these positions as well as describes how opponents in the conflict debated and theorized their own participation in its self-representation. Analyzing controversies over the authenticity of holy sites, the restorations of the Dome of the Rock, and the discourse of accusation following the Buraq, or Wailing Wall, riots of 1929, Monk discloses for the first time that, as combatants looked to architecture and invoked the transparency of their own historical situation, they simultaneously advanced—and normalized—the conflict’s inability to account for itself. This balanced and unique study will appeal to anyone interested in Israel or Zionism, the Palestinians, the Middle East conflict, Jerusalem, or its monuments. Scholars of architecture, political theory, and religion, as well as cultural and critical studies will also be informed by its arguments.
Aztec Ceremonial Landscapes
Davíd Carrasco University Press of Colorado, 1999 Library of Congress F1219.76.R45T6 1999 | Dewey Decimal 972.5018
A result of four years of cooperative research between the University of Colorado and the Templo Mayor Project of Mexico’s National Institute of Anthropology and History, Aztec Ceremonial Landscapes (formerly available as To Change Place) offers new interpretive models from the fields of archaeoastronomy, history of religion, anthropology, art history, and archaeology. Included are contributions by such noted experts as Eduardo Matos Moctezuma, Davíd Carrasco, Alfredo López Austin, Doris Heyden, Richard F. Townsend, Anthony Aveni, Henry B. Nicholson, Elizabeth Boone, Felipe Solis, and Johanna Broda, with a new introduction by William Fash.
On August 27, 2007, the U.S. Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals upheld an earlier district court ruling that sport climbing on a Washoe Indian sacred site in western Nevada must cease. Cave Rock, a towering monolith jutting over the shore of Lake Tahoe, has been sacred to the Washoe people for over five thousand years. Long abused by road builders and vandals, it earned new fame in the late twentieth century as a world-class sport rock-climbing site. Over twenty years of bitter disputes and confrontation between the Washoe and the climbers ensued. The Washoe are a small community of fewer than 2,000 members; the climbers were backed by a national advocacy and lobbying group and over a hundred powerful corporations. Cave Rock follows the history of the fight between these two groups and examines the legal challenges and administrative actions that ultimately resulted in a climbing ban. After over two centuries of judicial decisions allowing federal control, economic development, or public interests to outweigh Indian claims to their sacred places, the Court’s ruling was both unprecedented and highly significant. As the authors conclude, the long-term implications of the ruling for the protection of Native rights are of equal consequence.
In this provocative work, Cheryl Claassen challenges long-standing notions about hunter-gatherer life in the southern Ohio Valley as it unfolded some 8,000 to 3,500 years ago. Focusing on freshwater shell mounds scattered along the Tennessee, Ohio, Green, and Harpeth rivers, Claassen draws on the latest archaeological research to offer penetrating new insights into the sacred world of Archaic peoples. Some of the most striking ideas are that there were no villages in the southern Ohio Valley during the Archaic period, that all of the trading and killing were for ritual purposes, and that body positioning in graves reflects cause of death primarily.
Mid-twentieth-century assessments of the shell mounds saw them as the products of culturally simple societies that cared little about their dead and were concerned only with food. More recent interpretations, while attributing greater complexity to these peoples, have viewed the sites as mere villages and stressed such factors as population growth and climate change in analyzing the way these societies and their practices evolved. Claassen, however, makes a persuasive case that the sites were actually the settings for sacred rituals of burial and renewal and that their large shell accumulations are evidence of feasts associated with those ceremonies. She argues that the physical evidence—including the location of the sites, the largely undisturbed nature of the deposits, the high incidence of dog burials, the number of tools per body found at the sites, and the indications of human sacrifice and violent death—not only supports this view but reveals how ritual practices developed over time. The seemingly sudden demise of shellfish consumption, Claassen contends, was not due to overharvesting and environmental change; it ended, rather, because the sacred rituals changed.
<i>Feasting with Shellfish in the Southern Ohio Valley</i> is a work bound to stir controversy and debate among scholars of the Archaic period. Just as surely it will encourage a new appreciation for the spiritual life of ancient peoples—how they thought about the cosmos and the mysterious forces that surrounded them.
Cheryl Claassen is a professor of anthropology at Appalachian State University. She is the author or editor of six previous books on Native American prehistory, including <i>Whistling Women, Women in Prehistory</i>, and <i>Shells</i>.
Heroic Offerings sheds light on the study of religion in Sparta, one of Greece’s most powerful city-states and the long-term rival of Athens. Sparta’s history is well known, but its archaeology has been much less satisfactorily explored. Through the comprehensive study of a distinctive class of terracotta votive offerings from a specific sanctuary, Gina Salapata explores both coroplastic art and regional religion. By integrating archaeological, historical, literary, and epigraphic sources, she provides important insights into the heroic cults of Lakonia and contributes to an understanding of the political and social functions of local ritual practice.
This volume focuses on a large group of decorated terracotta plaques, from the sixth to fourth centuries BCE. These molded plaques were discovered with other offerings in a sanctuary deposit excavated near Sparta more than fifty years ago, but they have remained unpublished until now. They number over 1,500 complete and fragmentary pieces. In technique, style, and iconography they form a homogeneous group unlike any other from mainland Greece. The large number of plaques and variety of types reveal a stable and vigorous coroplastic tradition in Lakonia during the late Archaic and Classical period.
Heroic Offerings will be of interest to students and scholars of Greek history, art, and archaeology, to those interested in ancient religious practice in the Mediterranean, and to all inspired by Athens’ chief political rival, Sparta.
This volume received financial support from the Archaeological Institute of America.
The Dalai Lama has said that Tibetans consider themselves “the child of Indian civilization” and that India is the “holy land” from whose sources the Tibetans have built their own civilization. What explains this powerful allegiance to India? In The Holy Land Reborn¸ Toni Huber investigates how Tibetans have maintained a ritual relationship to India, particularly by way of pilgrimage, and what it means for them to consider India as their holy land.
Focusing on the Tibetan creation and recreation of India as a destination, a landscape, and a kind of other, in both real and idealized terms, Huber explores how Tibetans have used the idea of India as a religious territory and a sacred geography in the development of their own religion and society. In a timely closing chapter, Huber also takes up the meaning of India for the Tibetans who live in exile in their Buddhist holy land.
A major contribution to the study of Buddhism, The Holy Land Reborn describes changes in Tibetan constructs of India over the centuries, ultimately challenging largely static views of the sacred geography of Buddhism in India.
In Indo-European Sacred Space, Roger D. Woodard provides a careful examination of the sacred spaces of ancient Rome, finding them remarkably consistent with older Indo-European religious practices as described in the Vedas of ancient India. Employing and expanding on the fundamental methods of Émile Benveniste, as well as Georges Dumézil's tripartite analysis of Proto-Indo-European society, Woodard clarifies not only the spatial dynamics of the archaic Roman cult but, stemming from that, an unexpected clarification of several obscure issues in the study of Roman religion.
Looking closely at the organization of Roman religious activity, especially as regards sacrifices, festivals, and the hierarchy of priests, Woodard sheds new light on issues including the presence of the god Terminus in Jupiter's Capitoline temple, the nature of the Roman suovetaurilia, the Ambarvalia and its relationship to the rites of the Fratres Arvales, and the identification of the "Sabine" god Semo Sancus. Perhaps most significantly, this work also presents a novel and persuasive resolution to the long standing problem of "agrarian Mars."
Landscape is a powerful factor in the operation of memory because of the associations narrators make between the local landscape and the events of the stories they tell. Ancestors and mythological events often become fixed in a specific landscape and act as timeless reference points.
In conventional anthropological literature, "landscape" is the term applied to the meaning local people bestow on their cultural and physical surroundings. In this work, the authors explore the cultural and physical landscapes an individual or cultural group has constructed to define the origins or beginnings of that cultural group as revealed through shared or traditional memory. The cultural landscapes of origins in diverse sites throughout the Americas are investigated through multidisciplinary research, not only to reveal the belief system and mythologies but also to place these origin beliefs in context and relationship to each other. In a continual interaction between the past, present, and future, time is subordinate to place, and history, as defined in Western academic terms, does not exist.
In Memory Traces, art historians and archaeologists come together to examine the nature of sacred space in Mesoamerica. Through five well-known and important centers of political power and artistic invention in Mesoamerica—Tetitla at Teotihuacan, Tula Grande, the Mound of the Building Columns at El Tajín, the House of the Phalli at Chichén Itzá, and Tonina—contributors explore the process of recognizing and defining sacred space, how sacred spaces were viewed and used both physically and symbolically, and what theoretical approaches are most useful for art historians and archaeologists seeking to understand these places.
Memory Traces acknowledges that the creation, use, abandonment, and reuse of sacred space have a strongly recursive relation to collective memory and meanings linked to the places in question and reconciles issues of continuity and discontinuity of memory in ancient Mesoamerican sacred spaces. It will be of interest to students and scholars of Mesoamerican studies and material culture, art historians, architectural historians, and cultural anthropologists.
Contributors: Laura M. Amrhein, Nicholas P. Dunning, Rex Koontz, Cynthia Kristan-Graham, Matthew G. Looper, Travis Nygard, Keith M. Prufer, Matthew H. Robb, Patricia J. Sarro, Kaylee Spencer, Eric Weaver, Linnea Wren
Archaeologists and architects draw upon theoretical perspectives from their fields to provide valuable insights into the structure, development, and meaning of prehistoric communities.
Architecture is the most visible physical manifestation of human culture. The built environment envelops our lives and projects our distinctive regional and ethnic identities to the world around us. Archaeology and architecture find common theoretical ground in their perspectives of the homes, spaces, and communities that people create for themselves. Although archaeologists and architects may ask different questions and apply different methods, the results are the same—a deeper understanding of what it means to be human.
In this volume, prominent archaeologists examine the architectural design spaces of Mississippian towns and mound centers of the eastern United States. The diverse Mississippian societies, which existed between A.D. 900 and 1700, created some of the largest and most complex Native American archaeological sites in the United States. The dominant architectural feature shared by these communities was one or more large plazas, each of which was often flanked by buildings set on platform mounds. The authors describe the major dimensions of an architectural grammar, centered on the design of the plaza and mound complex that was shared by different societies across the Mississippian world. They then explore these shared architectural features as physical representations or metaphors for Mississippian world views and culture.
Prague Panoramas examines the creation of Czech nationalism through monuments, buildings, festivals, and protests in the public spaces of the city during the twentieth century. These “sites of memory” were attempts by civic, religious, cultural, and political forces to create a cohesive sense of self for a country and a people torn by war, foreign occupation, and internal strife.
The Czechs struggled to define their national identity throughout the modern era. Prague, the capital of a diverse area comprising Czechs, Slovaks, Germans, Poles, Ruthenians, and Romany as well as various religious groups including Catholics, Protestants, and Jews, became central to the Czech domination of the region and its identity. These struggles have often played out in violent acts, such as the destruction of religious monuments, or the forced segregation and near extermination of Jews.
During the twentieth century, Prague grew increasingly secular, yet leaders continued to look to religious figures such as Jan Hus and Saint Wenceslas as symbols of Czech heritage. Hus, in particular, became a paladin in the struggle for Czech independence from the Habsburg Empire and Austrian Catholicism.
Through her extensive archival research and personal fieldwork, Cynthia Paces offers a panoramic view of Prague as the cradle of Czech national identity, seen through a vast array of memory sites and objects. From the Gothic Saint Vitus Cathedral, to the Communist Party's reconstruction of Jan Hus's Bethlehem Chapel, to the 1969 self-immolation of student Jan Palach in protest of Soviet occupation, to the Hosková plaque commemorating the deportation of Jews from Josefov during the Holocaust, Paces reveals the iconography intrinsic to forming a collective memory and the meaning of being a Czech. As her study discerns, that meaning has yet to be clearly defined, and the search for identity continues today.
Davíd Carrasco draws from the perspectives of the history of religions, anthropology, and urban ecology to explore the nature of the complex symbolic form of Quetzalcoatl in the organization, legitimation, and subversion of a large segment of the Mexican urban tradition. His new Preface addresses this tradition in the light of the Columbian quincentennial.
"This book, rich in ideas, constituting a novel approach . . . represents a stimulating and provocative contribution to Mesoamerican studies. . . . Recommended to all serious students of the New World's most advanced indigenous civilization."—H. B. Nicholson, Man
"Like J. Eric Thompson, Carrasco has applied an informed imagination to identify some of the ways that ideas could lie behind material form."
- American Anthropologist
"A must for both professional and serious non-professional students in Mesoamerica. Those who are interested in complex society and urbanism in general, as well as students of comparative religion, will find it stimulating. Most importantly, for anyone interested in the history of ideas, the book illuminates the tremendously powerful impact and role of a complex deity/mythico-historical figure in shaping one of the world's great pristine civilizations."
- Queen's Quarterly
Winner of the Don D. and Catherine S. Fowler Prize
We are nearly all intrigued by the petroglyphs and pictographs of the American Southwest, and we commonly ask what they “mean”. Religion on the Rocks redirects our attention to the equally important matter of what compelled ancient peoples to craft rock art in the first place. To examine this question, Aaron Wright presents a case study from Arizona's South Mountains, an area once flanked by several densely populated Hohokam villages. Synthesizing results from recent archaeological surveys, he explores how the mountains' petroglyphs were woven into the broader cultural landscape and argues that the petroglyphs are relics of a bygone ritual system in which people vied for prestige and power by controlling religious knowledge. The features and strategic placement of the rock art suggest this dimension of Hohokam ritual was participatory and prominent in village life. Around AD 1100, however, petroglyph creation and other ritual practices began to wane, denoting a broad transformation of the Hohokam social world. Wright’s examination of the South Mountains petroglyphs offers a novel narrative of how Hohokam villagers negotiated a concentration of politico-religious authority around platform mounds. Readers will come away with a better understanding of the Hohokam legacy and a greater appreciation for rock art's value to anthropology.
India’s sacred Ganga River is arguably one of the most iconic sites for worship, with a continuity of rituals for the living and the dead that span over two millennia. Along the river, from high in the Himalaya to the vast plains below, people gather daily to worship the Ganga through prayer and song. But large government-sponsored dams threaten to upend these practices.
In River Dialogues, Georgina Drew offers a detailed ethnographic engagement with the social movements contesting hydroelectric development on the Ganga. The book examines the complexity of the cultural politics that, on the one hand, succeeded in influencing an unprecedented reversal of government plans for three contested hydroelectric projects, and how, on the other hand, this decision sparked ripples of discontent after being paired with the declaration of a conservation zone where the projects were situated.
The book follows the work of women who were initially involved in efforts to stop the disputed projects. After looking to their discourses and actions, Drew argues for the use of a political ecology analysis that incorporates the everyday practice and everyday religious connections that animated the cultural politics of development. Drew offers a nuanced understanding of the struggles that communities enact to assert their ways of knowing and caring for resources that serves as an example for others critically engaging with the growing global advocacy of the “green economy” model for environmental stewardship.
Caves have been used in various ways across human society, but despite the persistence within popular culture of the iconic caveman, deep caves were never used primarily as habitation sites for early humans. Rather, in both ancient and contemporary contexts, caves have served primarily as ritual spaces. In Sacred Darkness, contributors use archaeological evidence as well as ethnographic studies of modern ritual practices to envision the cave as place of spiritual and ideological power that emerges as a potent venue for ritual practice.
Covering the ritual use of caves in Europe, Asia, Australia, Africa, Mesoamerica, and the US Southwest and Eastern woodlands, this book brings together case studies by prominent scholars whose research spans from the Paleolithic period to the present day. These contributions demonstrate that cave sites are as fruitful as surface contexts in promoting the understanding of both ancient and modern religious beliefs and practices.
This state-of-the-art survey of ritual cave use will be one of the most valuable resources for understanding the role of caves in studies of religion, sacred landscape, or cosmology and a must-read for any archaeologist interested in caves.
For 250 years the Turkic Muslims of Tibet, who call themselves Uyghurs today, have cultivated a sense of history and identity that challenges Beijing’s national narrative. The roots of this history run deeper than recent conflicts, Rian Thum says, to a time when manuscripts and pilgrimage along the Silk Road dominated understandings of the past.
Co-Winner of the 2004 Colorado Endowment for the Humanities Publication Prize. In these eighteen illuminating essays, some of Colorado's most accomplished novelists, essayists, and poets write in intimate detail about their most poignant experiences in the Colorado wilderness. Readers are given access - both physically and spiritually - to settings that inspire reverence for and contemplation about one's relationship to the land. From above tree line in the Rawah Mountains down into the broad San Luis Valley, from the Western Slope to the high plains in the east, the reader is taken on a vivid journey through a rich assortment of Colorado's awe-inspiring landscapes. Essays by Tom Noel, Fred Baca, Kristen Iversen, and Reyes Garcia are historical in makeup, while those by Sangeeta Reddy, Merrill Gilfillan, and Amy England feature engaging spiritual and philosophical explorations, even epiphanies. Reg Saner and Nick Sutcliffe share experiences of pitting themselves against nature. And in the tradition of Thoreau, John Muir, and Annie Dillard, all of these essayists explore the intense and vibrant relationships people have with the wilderness. Sites of Insight belongs on the bookshelves of tourists, outdoor enthusiasts, and Coloradoans - both longtime residents and newcomers - who seek to apprehend something in nature that is larger than themselves.
Cave archaeology in the New World, now a focus of intense research, was still a peripheral area of inquiry just fifteen years ago. Stone Houses and Earth Lords is the first volume dedicated exclusively to the use of caves in the Maya Lowlands, covering primarily Classic Period archaeology from A.D. 100 through the Spaniards' arrival. Although the caves that riddled the lowlands show no signs of habitation, most contain evidence of human use - evidence that suggests that they functioned as ritual spaces.
Demonstrating the importance of these subterranean spaces to Maya archaeology, contributors provide interpretations of archaeological remains that yield insights into Maya ritual and cosmology. Compiling the best current scholarship in this fast-growing area of research, Stone Houses and Earth Lords is a vital reference for Mayanists, Mesoamerican specialists, and others interested in the human use of caves in the New World. Contributors include: Juan Luis Bonor, James E. Brady, Robert Burnett, Allan B. Cobb, Pierre Robert Colas, Cesar Espinosa, Sergio Garza, David M. Glassman, Christina T. Halperin, Amalia Kenward, Andrew Kindon, Patricia McAnany, Christopher Morehart, Holley Moyes, Vanessa A. Owen, Shankari Patel, Polly Peterson, Keith M. Prufer, Timothy. W. Pugh, Frank Saul, Julie Saul, Ann M. Scott, Andrea Stone, and Vera Tiesler.
Enslaved Africans and their descendants comprised a significant portion of colonial Virginia populations, with most living on rural slave quarters adjacent to the agricultural fields in which they labored. Archaeological excavations into these home sites have provided unique windows into the daily lifeways and culture of these early inhabitants.
A common characteristic of Virginia slave quarters is the presence of subfloor pits beneath the houses. The most common explanations of the functions of these pits are as storage places for personal belongings or root vegetables, and some contextual and ethnohistoric data suggest they may have served as West Africa-style shrines. Through excavations of 103 subfloor pits dating from the 17th through mid-19th centuries, Samford reveals a wealth of data including shape, location, surface area, and depth, as well as contents and patterns of related feature placement. Archaeology reveals the material circumstances of slaves’ lives, which in turn opens the door to illuminating other aspects of life: spirituality, symbolic meanings assigned to material goods, social life, individual and group agency, and acts of resistance and accommodation. Analysis of the artifact assemblages allows the development of hypotheses about how West African, possibly Igbo, cultural traditions were maintained and transformed in the Virginia Chesapeake.
The first comprehensive analysis of a strategically located ceremonial center on the island of Puerto Rico.
The prehistoric civic-ceremonial center of Tibes is located on the southern coast of Puerto Rico, just north of the modern coastal city of Ponce. Protected on two sides by a river, and on the other two sides by hills, this approximately 10.5-acre site remains as fertile and productive today as when first occupied over 2,000 years ago. Such a rich region would have been a choice location for native peoples because of the diversity in all resources, from land, air, and sea--and also symbolically crucial as a liminal space within the landscape. It may have been regarded as a space charged with numen or cosmic energy where different parts of the cosmos (natural vs. supernatural, or world of the living vs. world of the dead) overlap. Archaeological evidence reveals a long occupation, about 1,000 years, possibly followed by an extensive period of sporadic ceremonial use after the site itself was practically abandoned.
In this volume, nineteen Caribbeanists, across a wide academic spectrum, examine the geophysical, paleoethnobotanical, faunal, lithics, base rock, osteology, bone chemistry and nutrition, social landscape, and ceremonial constructs employed at Tibes. These scholars provide a concise, well-presented, comprehensive analysis of the evidence for local level changes in household economy, internal organization, accessibility to economic, religious, and symbolic resources related to the development and internal operation of socially stratified societies in the Caribbean.
Tracing the Relational examines the recent emergence of relational ontologies in archaeological interpretation and how this perspective can help archaeologists better understand the past. Traditional representational approaches reflect modern or Western perspectives, which focus on the individual and see the world in terms of dichotomies that separate culture and nature, human and object, sacred and secular. In contrast, ancient societies saw themselves as connected to and entangled with other human and nonhuman entities. In order to gain deeper insight into how people in the ancient world lived, experienced, and negotiated their lives, contributors argue, archaeologists must explore the myriad relationships and entanglements between humans and other beings, places, and things. As contributors unravel these relationships, they demonstrate that movement is an inherent feature of these relational webs and is the driving force behind a continually shifting reality. Chapters focus on various regions and time periods throughout the Americas, tracing how movements between other-worldly dimensions, spirits and deities, and temporalities were integral to everyday life.