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The Archaeology of Ritual and Magic

3.89  ·  Rating Details ·  18 Ratings  ·  4 Reviews
Like all human activities, ritual customs, intended to gain advantage or avert disaster by supernatural means, have left their mark on the archaeological record. Yet archaeologists are often reluctant to recognize evidence of behavior that has no obvious material purpose. Even where they realize that something unusual has occurred, they will put forward every other ...more
Paperback, 244 pages
Published June 1st 1988 by New Amsterdam Books (first published August 27th 1987)
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Peejay Who Once Was Minsma
Jun 13, 2008 Peejay Who Once Was Minsma rated it really liked it
Shelves: favorites
Back in 1988 when Merrifield wrote this book, the study of ritual and magic in academic circles was rare--frowned upon, even. Now it's become something of a cottage industry, but this slim and approachable volume was an early precursor of current fields of study.

The author studied inventories of archaeological digs stretching back many years, looking for the odd bits that archaeologists either didn't know how to interpret or interpreted in a prosaic way--things like bent pins or animal bones, b
...more
Lee Broderick
Far from being the comprehensive guide that the title may suggest, this book's scope is restricted to historic England. Ralph Merrifield writes well enough and The Archaeology Of Ritual And Magic should be accessible to anyone with an interest.

Reading this as a zooarchaeologist I was frustrated with Merrifield's interpretations of animal remains which, like Gerald A. Wait's, leant heavily on Annie Grant's Danebury interpretations (I've written elsewhere how I believe that they bear little scr
...more
Trunatrschild
Jul 30, 2014 Trunatrschild rated it it was amazing
An Excellent book on ritual and magical items from the last 2,000+ years in England. A little outdated but extremely important if one is interested in this subject. Everything from foundation sacrifices and bottles to items thrown in rivers. Very important in understanding some modern practices.
Amethyst
Sep 25, 2013 Amethyst rated it liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
More of an archaeology textbook, which I kind of like. It could have some outdated information, but. More open-minded than some, in presenting paganism. He probably was well-versed in the Craft.
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