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Archaeology, Anthropology and Cult: The Sanctuary at Gilat, Israel (Thomas E Levy) Hardcover Book, (Acumen Publishing, 2006) 9781904768586


Title: Archaeology, Anthropology and Cult: The Sanctuary at Gilat, Israel

Author: Levy, Thomas E

Publisher: Acumen Publishing; Publication Date: 2006

Hardcover; ISBN: 9781904768586

Volumes: 1; Pages: 448

List Price in Hardcover: $235.00 Our price: $191.99

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This book provides an in-depth study of the role of religion in the evolution of societies. It melds anthropological theory and archaeological data to present one of the most comprehensive archaeological studies of the role of ritual as a vital force for promoting and consolidating social change. It is based on seven seasons of archaeological excavation at the Chalcolithic site of Gilat, a low mound, located in the fields of the Moshav Gilat, a semi-communal farming settlement in Israel's northern Negev desert. The Chalcolithic period represents the first time that well-documented chiefdom organizations can be recognized in the archaeological record of the Holy Land when institutionalized social hierarchies, craft specialization, horticulture, temple life and other fundamental social changes occurred in this part of the ancient Near East. As one of the few Chalcolithic (ca. 4500--3600 B.C.) sanctuary sites in the southern Levant, Gilat provides a wonderful opportunity to explore the role of religion and ideology as a social force for influencing social relations and social evolution through one of the formative periods in the prehistory of the eastern Mediterranean. The collection of studies presented in this book aim at examining the material evidence for the ideological sub-system of Chalcolithic culture through careful analyses of relatively large sets of archaeological data related to ritual practice.

The volume includes hundreds of beautiful artifact drawings, photographs, maps, and data tables. By presenting the data in its entirety, it is hoped that future researchers can test their ideas with the original data.

If we are to genuinely construct an archaeology of cult, ritual, cognition, and religion, it is imperative that archaeologists engage with complete datasets and meet the change of dealing with the 'ugly' facts of the archaeological record. In studying the archaeology of cult and religion, the potential for speculation is great. This is especially apparent in the works of Marija Gimbutas and others who take an impressionistic approach to the study of ideology and society. In the southern Levant and other parts of the world, researchers who do not engage in dealing with entire assemblages of ritual paraphernalia found in the archaeological record of late 5th--early 4th millennium run similar risks of having personal impressions dominate over actual patterns in the datasets. In light of these and other issues, this book represents a commitment to the greater goal of promoting more systematization in the study of the archaeology of ritual and religion. Archaeology, Anthropology and Cult--the Sanctuary at Gilat, Israel will surely raise the bar in how anthropologists and archaeologists study the role of religion in social evolution. As such, this book will be of interest to ancient historians, anthropologists, archaeologists, biblical scholars, students and professionals.

Contents

Preface Thomas E. Levy

I. Theory

1. Archaeology, Anthropology and Cult: Exploring Religion in Formative Middle Range Societies Thomas E. Levy

2. Cults, Shrines and the Emergence of Regional Ritual Centers: The View from New Guinea Donald F. Tuzin

3. Tribal Pilgrimages to Saint's Tombs in South Sinai Emanuel Marx

4. The Rise of a New Negev Cult Center Today: Baba Sali's Sanctuary in Netivot, Israel Yoram Bilu

II. Archaeological Foundations

5. The Sanctuary Sequence: Excavations at Gilat: 1975-77, 1989, 1990-92 Thomas E. Levy, David Alon, James D. Anderson, Yorke M. Rowan and Morag Kersel

III. Biological Data from Gilat

6. Farming? Feasting? Herding? Large Mammals from the Chalcolithic of Gilat Caroline Grigson

7. Marine and Riverine Shells from Gilat Daniella E. Bar-Yosef Mayer

8. Death and the Sanctuary: The Human Remains from Gilat Patricia Smith, Tania Zagerson, Pamela Sabari, Jonathan Golden, Thomas E. Levy and Leslie Dawson

IV. The Emergence of Gilat as a Regional Cult Center--Production and Exchange

9. Tracking Ceramic Production at Gilat: Petrographic Studies Yuval Goren

10. Gilat's Ceramics: Cognitive Dimensions of Pottery Production Catherine Commenge, Thomas E. Levy, David Alon and Eric Kansa

11. Flint Tool Production at Gilat Yorke M. Rowan

12. Gilat's Ground Stone Assemblage: Stone Fenestrated Stands, Bowls, Palettes and Related Artifacts Yorke M. Rowan, Thomas E. Levy, Yuval Goren and David Alon

13. The Worked Bone from the Chalcolithic Site of Gilat--Interim Report Caroline Grigson

V. Processes of Integration: The Emergence of a Pan-Regional Ritual Center

14. The Intensification of Production in the Gilat Sanctuary: Dimensions of Textile and Other Forms of Manufacture Thomas E. Levy, Yorke M. Rowan, Wendy Conner and David Alon

15. Gilat's Figurines: Exploring the Social and Symbolic Dimensions of Representation Catherine Commenge, Thomas E. Levy, David Alon and Eric Kansa

16. Conclusion: The Evolution of a Levantine Regional Cult Center Thomas E. Levy

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