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Ritual and Domestic Life in Prehistoric Europe Paperback – May 21, 2005

ISBN-13: 978-0415345514 ISBN-10: 0415345510 Edition: New Ed

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Routledge; New Ed edition (May 21, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0415345510
  • ISBN-13: 978-0415345514
  • Product Dimensions: 6.1 x 0.5 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.9 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,933,507 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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About the Author

Professor of Archaeology at Reading University.

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I found this text a very good representation of its subject matter. Bradley takes the thesis point, that ritual has been an inseparable component of daily life since the dawn of European culture and explains it fully, using well organized examples supported by 20 pages of references. Doing so he corrects many decades of common archaeological misinterpretation, casting the findings of the past in an intuitive light and making them much more understandable than they would otherwise be.

He illustrates his thesis using observation of artifacts used by surviving traditional cultures, compares them with past artifacts, establishes functional usage and traces the intermediate steps. He takes common human behaviors and artifacts, links them across both geographic distance and time, then extrapolates to make generalizations which hold together much better than many traditional interpretations of fragmentary evidence from the deep past.

All of this is intuitively evident to those few of us who have actually lived on the land and discovered the rhythms of building, planting, tending crops and animals, and harvesting. But most of us live in an ever changing urban world where custom seldom lasts a season and there is no real emotional connection with the rituals of daily life. Most of us don't see ritual in our own lives. Instead we see it in the form of huge "sporting" and "concert" pageants, weddings, funerals, "The Academy Awards Ceremony" and countless other artificially staged events. So it is no wonder that for much of the last century anthropologists have made the mistake of assuming that artifacts and folkways either had an utilitarian purpose or a ritual one but not both simultaneously.

I'd recommend this well written and easily digested book as supplemental reading for any undergraduate anthropology, archeology or history major. It should also prove of interest to human systems engineers, architects and behavioral scientists.
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