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The subject of ‘magic’ has long been considered peripheral and sensationalist, the word itself having become something of an academic taboo. However, beliefs in magic and the rituals that surround them are extensive – as are their material manifestations – and to avoid them is to ignore a prevalent aspect of cultures worldwide, from prehistory to the present day. The Materiality of Magic addresses the value of the material record as a resource in investigations into magic, ritual practices, and popular beliefs. The chronological and geographic focuses of the papers presented here vary from prehistory to the present-day, including numinous interpretations of fossils and ritual deposits in Bronze Age Europe; apotropaic devices in Roman and Medieval Britain; the evolution of superstitions and ritual customs – from the ‘voodoo doll’ of Europe and Africa to a Scottish ‘wishing-tree’; and an exploration of spatiality in West African healing practices. The objectives of this collection of nine papers are twofold. First, to provide a platform from which to showcase innovative research and theoretical approaches in a subject which has largely been neglected within archaeology and related disciplines, and, secondly, to redress this neglect. The papers were presented at the 2012 Theoretical Archaeology Group (TAG) conference in Liverpool.
This text develops a new perspective on Late Bronze Age (LBA) Ireland by identifying and analysing patterns of ritual practice in the archaeological record. The bookends of this study are the introduction of the bronze slashing sword to Ireland at around 1200 BC and the introduction and proliferation of iron technology beginning around 600 BC. Therefore, it is societal change related to new technology which defines the period discussed as the Irish Late Bronze Age (LBA) herein. Ritual practices find expression in a range of contexts which can be studied separately. However, they require an overarching, integrated ritual system to contextualise and attempt to understand their broader purpose. Similar rituals were consistently enacted in similar locations across the island of Ireland in the LBA. This indicates shared understanding of the way to enact certain rituals as well as shared understanding of what these practices would achieve.
Why did people in the past hide animal bones and other objects in the structures of their buildings? This study discusses building concealment practices and the worldview where they were meaningful in the light of archaeological finds and folklore accounts. Moreover, the book introduces a means for studying historical folk religion as part of the archaeology of religion.
From AD 1550 to 1850, the Araucanian polity in southern Chile was a center of political resistance to the intruding Spanish empire. In this 2007 book, Tom D. Dillehay examines the resistance strategies of the Araucanians and how they used mound building and other sacred monuments to reorganize their political and culture life in order to unite against the Spanish. Drawing on anthropological research conducted over three decades, Dillehay focuses on the development of leadership, shamanism, ritual, and power relations. His study combines developments in social theory with the archaeological, ethnographic, and historical records. Both theoretically and empirically informed, this book is a fascinating account of the only indigenous ethnic group to successfully resist outsiders for more than three centuries and to flourish under these conditions.
How can social scientists draw broad, applicable principles of political order from specific historical examples? In this volume, five senior scholars offer a methodological response to this question. The result is both a methodological manifesto and an applied handbook.
In the Sepik Basin of Papua New Guinea, ritual culture was dominated by the Tambaran --a male tutelary spirit that acted as a social and intellectual guardian or patron to those under its aegis as they made their way through life. To Melanesian scholarship, the cultural and psychological anthropologist, Donald F. Tuzin, was something of a Tambaran, a figure whose brilliant and fine-grained ethnographic project in the Arapesh village of Ilahita was immensely influential within and beyond New Guinea anthropology. Tuzin died in 2007, at the age of 61. In his memory, the editors of this collection commissioned a set of original and thought provoking essays from eminent and accomplished anthropologists who knew and were influenced by his work. They are echoes of the Tambaran. The anthology begins with a biographical sketch of Tuzin's life and scholarship. It is divided into four sections, each of which focuses loosely around one of his preoccupations. The first concerns warfare history, the male cult and changing masculinity, all in Melanesia. The second addresses the relationship between actor and structure. Here, the ethnographic focus momentarily shifts to the Caribbean before turning back to Papua new Guinea in essays that examine uncanny phenomena, narratives about childhood and messianic promises. The third part goes on to offer comparative and psychoanalytic perspectives on the subject in Fiji, Bali, the Amazon as well as Melanesia. Appropriately, the last section concludes with essays on Tuzin's fieldwork style and his distinctive authorial voice.
This insightful book explores the relationship between theater and digital culture. The authors show that the marriage of traditional performance with new technologies leads to an upheaval of the implicit “live” quality of theatre by introducing media interfaces and Internet protocols, all the while blurring the barriers between theater-makers and their audience.

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