Professor of African and Islamic Archaeology
Insoll, T. 2004. Archaeology, Ritual, Religion (Themes in Archaeology). London: Routledge. 184pp.

Insoll, T. 2004. Archaeology, Ritual, Religion (Themes in Archaeology). London: Routledge. 184pp.

Sample Chapter Available Here – Chapter 1. Introduction to the Theme.

Obtainable from www.routledge.com or www.amazon.com

This volume provides the first ever comprehensive consideration of the relationship between archaeology, religion, and ritual. It considers how archaeologists have dealt with and defined the categories of ritual and religion, and assesses both past and contemporary theoretical approaches to the subject. These include evolutionary, structuralist, Marxist, cognitive-processual, phenomenological, and post-processual ones. Theoretical approaches to religion within cognate disciplines are also reviewed including philosophy, theology, anthropology, psychology, and history of religions. Myth, time, emotion, and analogy are considered with reference to major case studies drawn from West Africa. Finally, a new theoretical approach to the archaeological study of religion is briefly explored. Examples of extracts from reviews of this book include:

  • Mike Pitts in British Archaeology (Sept. 2004) writes that, “it is a compelling analysis of religion….a valuable text for the thinking archaeologist and student. Insoll argues convincingly that archaeologists should not be frightened about religion”.
  • A.K.Stevens in PalArch (www.PalArch.nl) states that, “Far from a how to do manual, the book represents rather a moment of reflection on past and contemporary approaches to the subject….Archaeology, Ritual, Religion is to be very welcomed as an accessible and thought-provoking means of broadening horizons, rich in observations that resonate…”.