Terminology of religion and ritual

defintions + examples for all of the terminiology fro section A of the Arch1 exam


Defintions - A to F

Ancestor/Ancestor Cult: animism, polytheism, monotheism, atheism - Example: Garve goods, votif offerings, use in the next world

Animism: belief in spirits of trees and animals - Example: lascuex or any cave painting, totem poles at stonehenge, newgrange iconography

Art+Iconography: Art that is to do with religion and ritual - Example: Lasceux, newgrange - spirals and lozenges, phalluses and venus figurines

Cremation: A type of mortuary practice where the body is burnt into the pile of ashes - Examples: aubury holes, Barrow at flag fen, nutbane - neolithic long barrow

Excarnation: exposure of a dead body until it rots away then they do somethign with the bones - Example: causeway camps, hambledon hill, West Kennet long barrow

Focus of Attention: design feature of a monument, tends to be associated with an event - Example: stonehenge - primary trialathon - solstice event, newgrange quartz facade

1 of 5

Defintions - F to M

Fuenary Ritual: Mortuary practice - a way to create a rite of passage - Example: red lady of paviland, Amesbury archer, Wet Wang Woman, West Kennet long barrow

Grave Goods: Artefacts that are interred with the dead - Examples: Bush barrow, Amesubury Archer, Wet Wang Woman

Inhumation: Inter a complete body in a burial or cist, can be flexed and extended - Example: Amesbury archer, wet wang woman, red lady of paviland

Liminal: a divison or boundary line blocking or stopping something - Example: any ditch or bank structure, facades, causeways etc

Magic: acot or event that breaks the normal rules of the universe ot is a ssociated with supernatural forces - Examples: bronze manufacture, cushion stone, solstice events

Monotheism: the worship of one diety or god, difficult to answer in terms of prehistory - Example: christianity, lullingstone roman villa, stonehenge, worship of sun god

2 of 5

Defintions - M to P

Myth: Create fantasy, tend to explain universe - Example: irish poets, greek and roman authors, journey of soul, seahenge - tree underground, cave paintings

Pilgrim: A person who goes on a religious journey, mimic or propriate religious action or purpose - Example: Amesbury archer - switzerland to stonehenge, bluestones from wales to stonehenge, jouney of soul arguement

Polytheism: Worship of multiple gods - Example: Stonehnge, sun and moon gods, flag fen - water gods, earth godess, womb like structures e.g Silbury Hill

Prayer/Participation: Personal ritual, ritual act or redundancy - Example: nutbane, durrington walls, Flag fen, large scale monuments like avebury, chalk tablets at windmill hill

Priest/ritual structure: ritual specialist, status/ terriotral marker - Example: anything and everything, ethnoarch !Kung San, discrete areas show ritual specialists

Propiation: method of influencing the gods - Example: Votive offerings at any site

3 of 5

Defintions - P to S

Purity and cleansing: ritual cleanliness, so you dont pollute sacred places - Example: burning in elbow at stonehenge, barrow at flag fen, any excarnation

Rite of passgae: Ritual and ceremonial markers associated with change - Example: rite of passage between life and death at stonehenge, move to adulthood - ethnoarch

Rite of intensification: symbol of intensification, reaction to crsis, ritual becomes more intense - Exampels - Lindow man or any bog body, flag fen - changing cliamte, Silbury hill

Ritual feasting: act of prayer to celebrate something - Example: Durrington Walls

Ritual: Redundancy - repeaed action fo ritual, feature sof monument, do it to propriate - Example: anything and everything can be classed as ritual

Sacrifice: removal of a valuable item permenantly from society - Example: bog bodies, ditches of hambledon hill, man shot with arrows at stonehenge

4 of 5

Definitons - S

Sensory experience: Visions - pyschosensory experience - Examples: drugs or other actions, !Kung San dancing for a long time, Iconography - spiral marks at newgrange

Shamanism: Ritual specialist, conatct the ancestors - Example: Wet wang woman had mirror in grave with her + deformed face, amesbury archer had a cushion stone

Symbolism: representation of some supernatural or natural act or feature - Example: iconography - monument may represent universe, silbury hill, preganant woman

Totemism: form of animism, worship of plants + animals - Examples: Native americans, 3 possible totem poles in stonehenge car park, any woodne upright could be one

WorldView: Broad concept of the universe, constant rebirth, worship of ancestors - Example: stonehenge - solar alignment, any solar aligned monument, entopic surfaces into spirit world

Worship: The act of carrying out ritual - Example: any site

5 of 5


No comments have yet been made

Similar Archaeology resources:

See all Archaeology resources »