From spectator to critic and participant A new role for archaeology in ritual studies
Forskningsoutput: Tidskriftsbidrag › Artikel i vetenskaplig tidskrift
In order to understand ritual in the past, archaeology has long relied on theories developed in other disciplines. While these theories, which often rely on written or oral information, have added many important dimensions to our interpretation of the archaeological record, they have often proven difficult to successfully articulate with the archaeological sources. Moreover, archaeology has tended to remain on the receiving end of the formulation of social theory, and has only rarely participated in the theoretical development and critique. In this article we argue that we see a central role for archaeology to contribute to the development of ritual theory. Through two case studies from Scandinavian prehistory we illustrate how the application of a practice-based ritual theory allows us to more firmly connect the theoretical framework to our archaeological sources. This connection not only leads us toward a synchronization of materials, methods and theories, but it also allows us to engage in the broader interdisciplinary theoretical discussion about ritual. The specific challenges posed by the archaeological sources and the archaeological process of interpretation point to new questions relating to the application of theoretical frameworks, and may even suggest some solutions.