Religion at Work in a Neolithic Society: Vital Matters

This book tackles the topic of religion, a broad subject exciting renewed interest across the social and historical sciences. The volume is tightly focused on the early farming village of Çatalhöyük, which has generated much interest both within and outside of archaeology, especially for its contributions to the understanding of early religion. The volume discusses contemporary themes such as materiality, animism, object vitality, and material dimensions of spirituality while at the same time exploring broad evolutionary changes in the ways in which religion has influenced society. The volume results from a unique collaboration between an archaeological team and a range of specialists in ritual and religion.

Religion in the Emergence of Civilization: Çatalhöyük as a Case Study

This book presents an interdisciplinary study of the role of spirituality and religious ritual in the emergence of complex societies. Involving an eminent group of natural scientists, archaeologists, anthropologists, philosophers, and theologians, this volume examines Çatalhöyük as a case study. A 9,000-year-old town in central Turkey, Çatalhöyük was first excavated in the 1960s and has since become integral to understanding the symbolic and ritual worlds of the early farmers and village-dwellers in the Middle East. It is thus an ideal location for exploring theories about the role of religion in early settled life. This book provides a unique overview of current debates concerning religion and its historical variations. Through exploration of themes including the integration of the spiritual and the material, the role of belief in religion, the cognitive bases for religion, and religion’s social roles, this book situates the results from Çatalhöyük within a broader understanding of the Neolithic in the Middle East.

Mediterranean Prehistoric Heritage: Training, Education and Management (with Louise Doughty)

Drawing on the experience of the Temper project (Training, Education, Management and Prehistory in the Mediterranean) and wider examples from the Mediterranean, this volume explores the issues inherent in managing, interpreting, and presenting prehistoric archaeological sites. The first section of the book contains thematic chapters on conservation, visitor management and interpretation, public participation, and issues of managing sites within their cultural landscape; the second section focuses on archaeology and education and the politics of national curricula, and presents detailed case studies. Written by academics and those working in the fields of archaeology, architecture, heritage management, and education, this volume will be invaluable to students and practitioners alike.

The Body (with Sean Sweeney)

This volume presents eight essays, written by highly eminent researchers, on our perception of the human body in society, popular culture, science, and the arts. Topics range from the remarkable molecular processes that occur during the growth and development of the body and the unravelling of the secrets of the DNA that builds it, to the ethics of reproduction and our perception of death and of the body as art. The final chapter describes the events surrounding the discovery of a body frozen in the high mountains of the Alps 5,000 years ago.

Contemporary Archaeology in Theory: A Reader

This reader presents an easily accessible collection of seminal articles in contemporary Anglo-American archaeological theory for use in introductory undergraduate classes as well as graduate level seminars. If focuses upon the period from 1980 to the present emphasizing the far-reaching effects of recent internal and external critiques of processual archaeology. The central purpose of the reader is to assist students in thinking about the interrelationships between theory and practice for different theoretical approaches.

Interpreting Archaeology: Finding Meaning in the Past (with Alexandra Alexandri, Victor Buchli, John Carman, Jonathan Last, Gavin Lucas, and Michael Shanks)

This volume provides a forum for debate between varied approaches to the past. The authors, drawn from Europe, North America, Asia, and Australasia, represent many different strands of archaeology. They address the philosophical issues involved in interpretation and a desire among archaeologists to come to terms with their own subjective approaches to the material they study, a recognition of how past researchers have also imposed their own value systems on the evidence which they presented.

Archaeological Theory in Europe: The Last Three Decades

The 1980s witnessed exciting developments in theoretical writing in Western archaeology. Where previous decades were dominated by the Anglo-American perspective, or "New Archaeology," recent years have seen the European debate grow in confidence and vitality. Archaeological Theory in Europe captures this new spirit of debate as contributors from a wide cross-section of countries evaluate the development of the distinctly national and European characteristics of archaeology and assess future directions. Contributors consider an extensive range of ideologies and viewpoints, stressing the fundamentally historical emphasis and social construction of European archaeology. The development of archaeological theory is traced, with specific emphasis on factors which differ from country to country. In the light of recent racial unrest in Eastern Europe, the book stresses the need for theory in European archaeology and the danger inherent in using archaeology to justify regional claims. Ultimately, it is argued that the most active response to archaeology is to celebrate theory within a constantly critical mode.


The Meanings of Things: Material Culture and Symbolic Expression

This unique and fascinating book concentrates on the varying roles and functions that material culture may play in almost all aspects of the social fabric of a given culture. The contributors, from Africa, Australia and Papua New Guinea, India, South America, the U.S., and both Eastern and Western Europe, provide a rich variety of views and experience in a worldwide perspective. Several of the authors focus on essential points of principle and methodology that must be carefully considered before any particular approach to material culture is adopted.

One of the many fundamental questions posed in the book is whether or not all material culture is equivalent to documents which can be 'read' and interpreted by the outside observer. If it is, what is the nature of the 'messages' or meanings conveyed in this way? The book also questions the extent to which acceptance, and subsequent diffusion, of a religious belief or symbol may be qualified by the status of the individuals concerned in transmitting the innovation, as well as by the stratification of the society involved. Several authors deal with 'works of art' and the most effective means of reaching an understanding of their past significance. In some chapters semiotics is seen as the most appropriate technique to apply to the decoding of the assumed rules and grammars of material culture expression.

Archaeology as Long-Term History

In marked contrast with the anthropological and cross-cultural approaches that featured so prominently in archaeological research, this contributory volume emphasizes the archaeological significance of historical method and philosophy. Drawing particularly on the work of R. G. Collingwood, the contributors show that the notion of 'history seen from within' is a viable approach that can be applied in ethnoarchaeology and in both historic and prehistoric archaeology. There is a discussion of short, medium, and long-term historical structures in relation to social events generating observed material culture patterning. Examination of the relationship between structure and event within historical contexts leads to insights into the interdependence of continuity and change, and into the nature of widely recognised processes such as acculturation, diffusion, and migration.

The Archaeology of Contextual Meanings

This companion volume to Archaeology as Long-term History focuses on the symbolism of artifacts. It seeks at once to refine the theory and method relating to interpretation and show, with examples, how to conduct this sort of archaeological work. Some contributors work with the material culture of modern times or the historic period, areas in which the symbolism of mute artifacts has traditionally been thought most accessible. However, the book also contains a good number of applications in prehistory to demonstrate the feasibility of symbolic interpretation where good contextual data survive from the distant past. In relation to wider debates within the social sciences, the volume is characterised by a concern to place abstract symbolic codes within their historical context and within the contexts of social actions. In this respect, it develops further some of the ideas presented in Ian Hodder's Symbolic and Structural Archaeology, an earlier volume in this series.

Symbolic and Structural Archaeology

This volume presents a searching critique of the more traditional archaeological methodologies and interpretation strategies and lays down a firm philosophical and theoretical basis for symbolist and structuralist studies in archaeology. A variety of procedures, ranging from ethnoarchaeological studies and computing techniques to formal studies of artifact design variability, are utilized to provide models for archaeologists within the proposed framework and the theory and models are then applied to a range of archaeological analyses. This particular approach sees all human actions as being meaningfully constituted within a social and cultural framework. Material culture is not simply an adaptive tool, but is structured according to sets of underlying principles which give meaning to, and derive meanings from, the social world. Thus structural regularities are shown to link seemingly disparate aspects of material culture, from funerary monuments to artifact design, from the use of space in settlements, to the form of economic practices.

Pattern of the Past: Studies in the Honour of David Clarke (with Glynn Isaac and Norman Hammond)

David Clarke was until his death in 1976 ‘the acknowledged leader in Britain of the “new wave” of archaeological thinking.’ His work concentrated on the establishment of explicit theory and logic in archaeological method and the contributions to this volume demonstrate how vital was his inspiration and reflect its diversity. The contributors follow his lead in searching for ways of discovering and interpreting patterns, including spatial, economic, and social patterns in the archaeological record of past human life. The studies in this book were all commissioned and have not appeared elsewhere. The book will be of importance for archaeologists and of interest to anthropologists and those concerned with the general methodology of the social sciences.