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What Should an Archaeology of Religion Look Like to a Blind Archaeologist?



Archaeology understands religion from embodied practices; interrogates the role of materiality in the reproduction of religion, accomplished in ritual; and explores what historical perspectives tell us about how religions persist and change. Archaeology is specially prepared to examine the repetition of practices over time, and their mediation through material forms. Embodied practices, routinized, unquestioned, yet subject to recognition and approval as “right,” are the core of religion in action, or ritual. A pragmatic archaeological approach asks not what religion is, but what it does, and how the material and historical basis of archaeology might change our view of religion.