Archaeology of Religion: Cultures and their Beliefs in Worldwide Context

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  • Edition: 1st
  • Format: Nonspecific Binding
  • Copyright: 2009-04-30
  • Publisher: Routledge

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Steadman fills an empty niche in the offerings on how archaeology interprets past religions with this useful textbook. The book includes case studies from around the world, from the study of Upper Paleolithic religions and of shamans in foraging societies to formal religious structures in advanced complex societies of Mesopotamia, Egypt, India and the Andes. Steadman also includes key contemporary religions—Christianity, Islam, and Buddhism, among others—to provide an historical and comparative context. This is an ideal text for a archaeology of religion courses and classes that include a significant component on past religions,” as well as an excellent guide for general readers.

Author Biography

Sharon R. Steadman is an Associate Professor of Anthropology at SUNY Cortland in New York State. Her fieldwork has focused on Near Eastern archaeological work across the Middle East, with a focus on Turkey in the last fifteen years. She is the Field Director of the Ccidle;adir Houmlet;yuumlet;k archaeological project in central Turkey, and is the director of the Rozanne M. Brooks Ethnographic Museum at SUNY Cortland.

Table of Contents

Illustrationsp. 8
Acknowledgmentsp. 11
Method, Theory, and the Study of Religionp. 13
Introduction The Archaeology of Religionp. 15
Why Archaeology and Why Religion?p. 15
Ethics, Archaeology, and Religionp. 17
Cultures and their Beliefs in Worldwide Contextp. 19
Anthropology and the Study of Religionp. 21
Defining Religionp. 21
Early Anthropology and the Origins of Religionp. 23
New Views in the Twentieth Centuryp. 28
Contemporary Anthropological Theoriesp. 30
Interpreting Religion in the Archaeological Pastp. 36
Cosmology, Myth, and Ritualp. 36
Supernatural Beings and Religious Specialistsp. 40
Method and Theory in the Archaeology of Religionp. 45
Interpreting Beliefs in Worldwide Contextp. 47
Conclusionp. 52
The Emergence of Religion in Human Culturep. 53
The World of the Shamanp. 55
The Nature of the Shamanp. 55
The Shaman's Toolsp. 61
Finding Shamans in the Archaeological Recordp. 62
The First Spark of Religion: The Neanderthalsp. 68
Human Evolution: Homo Erectus, Neanderthals, and Modern Humansp. 68
Who Were the Neanderthals?p. 71
Neanderthal Sites in Europe and Western Asia: Rituals in Caves?p. 73
Conclusion: Did the Neanderthals Really Have Religion?p. 80
Rock Art and Ritual in Africa and Australiap. 81
Cultures of the Kalaharip. 81
Southern African Rock Artp. 85
Religion and Rock Art in Australiap. 88
Stone Monuments, Rock Art, and Dreamtimep. 94
Engraved Rock Artp. 99
Painted Rock Art of North and Northwestern Australiap. 102
Conclusionp. 105
Religions in the Americasp. 107
The Mound-Building Cultures of North Americap. 109
Foraging, Agriculture, and Tradep. 110
The Hopewell Culturep. 112
The Mississippian Culturep. 116
Conclusionp. 122
Puebloan Cultures of the American Southwestp. 123
The Hisatsinom (Anasazi)-Early Settlementp. 124
Chaco Canyon and Pueblo Bonitop. 125
Mesoamerica and the Religions of Empirep. 135
Prelude to the Aztecsp. 135
The Aztecsp. 139
Conclusionp. 150
Lords and Maidens: Religions of South Americap. 152
An Early Andean Center: Chavin De Huántarp. 152
Precursor to the Inka: The Moche and the Nascap. 157
A Patchwork of Andean Kingdomsp. 164
The Inka Empirep. 165
Conclusionp. 172
Religions in Europep. 173
Upper Paleolithic and Neolithic Europe: From Cave to Villagep. 175
Upper Paleolithic Cave Artp. 176
Female Figurines in the Upper Paleolithicp. 179
Neolithic Europep. 183
Conclusionp. 187
Megaliths and Power in Ancient Western Europep. 189
Pre-Megalithic Northwestern Europep. 189
The Culture of Megalithsp. 191
The Long Barrow Buildersp. 199
Why Build Megalithic Monuments?p. 201
Conclusionp. 202
Religions in South and Southeast Asiap. 203
From Harappans to Hinduism and Beyond: Religions in South Asiap. 205
South Asia Todayp. 205
The Harappan Civilizationp. 209
The End of Harappan Civilization and the Arrival of the Indo-Aryansp. 218
Harappans, Indo-Aryans, and the Rise of Hinduismp. 219
Classical-Period Hinduism and the Origins of Buddhismp. 221
From Hunter-Gatherer to Empire: Religions in Southeast Asiap. 226
Neolithic Hunter-Gatherers and Bronze Age Farmersp. 226
The Arrival of Hinduism and Buddhism in Southeast Asiap. 231
The Iron Age and the Rise of Empiresp. 232
The Khmer Empire: Royal Religion and the Power of Kingsp. 235
Religions in Africa and the Middle Eastp. 243
Religion and Empire in Egypt and Great Zimbabwep. 245
Ancient Egyptp. 245
The Great Zimbabwe Kingdomp. 260
Ancient Sumer and Religions in Ancient Mesopotamiap. 269
Ancient Sumer and the Religion of Mesopotamiap. 269
The Akkadian Empirep. 279
Sumer, Akkad, and the Power of Religionp. 281
Levantine Religions and the Origins of Judaismp. 282
The First Patriarchs Emergep. 282
Canaanite Religion and the Philistinesp. 289
The First Israelite Empirep. 292
Conclusionp. 297
Revitalizing the People: The Origins of Christianity and Islamp. 298
The Roman Levant and the Origins of Christianityp. 298
Muhammad and the Origins of Islamp. 308
Conclusionp. 312
Referencesp. 315
Indexp. 337
About the Authorp. 352
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