Caves have been used in various ways across human society, but
despite the persistence within popular culture of the iconic
caveman, deep caves were never used primarily as habitation sites
for early humans. Rather, in both ancient and contemporary
contexts, caves have served primarily as ritual spaces. In
Sacred Darkness, contributors use archaeological evidence
as well as ethnographic studies of modern ritual practices to
envision the cave as place of spiritual and ideological power that
emerges as a potent venue for ritual practice.
Covering the ritual use of caves in Europe, Asia, Australia,
Africa, Mesoamerica, and the US Southwest and Eastern woodlands,
this book brings together case studies by prominent scholars whose
research spans from the Paleolithic period to the present day.
These contributions demonstrate that cave sites are as fruitful as
surface contexts in promoting the understanding of both ancient and
modern religious beliefs and practices.
This state-of-the-art survey of ritual cave use will be one of
the most valuable resources for understanding the role of caves in
studies of religion, sacred landscape, or cosmology and a must-read
for any archaeologist interested in caves.
Subjects: Sociology, Archaeology
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