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Reading Ritual In The Archaeological Record: Deposition Pattern And Function Of Two Artifact Types From The Royal Cemetery Of Ur

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Chapter Summary

To date, most reconstructions of ritual activity in the ancient Near East have been grounded in either textual evidence or iconographic analysis: the reading of explicit narrative or explicitly illustrative imagery. One can, however, begin from a different set of propositions more relevant to archaeologists. The issue of ritual performance in general has long engaged anthropologists, and is currently the subject of a good deal of scholarly attention while mortuary practices and attitudes toward death have frequently engaged both archaeologists and anthropologists. But seldom have the two, ritual and the archaeology of mortuary practice, been explicitly connected. Mortuary practice is most often confined to descriptions of tomb construction, burial position, provisioning and accompanying grave goods. A substantial group of small shallow vessels has been identified as &t;lamps&t;, although they show no signs of soot or residue from burning.

Keywords: anthropologists; archaeological record; ritual performance



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