Paul Boothroyd wrote:
> The major problem we have is that if this isn't a 'ritual' site then we
> really don't have the knowledge of what exactly was going on and the
> vocabulary to give it another purpose!
As a non-archaeologist I find this angst over the use of the 'ritual'
quite intriguing. Humans seem to feel the need to perform all sorts of
ritual, both religious and not, all over the world and throughout
recorded history. It would be very strange indeed if some of the
activities of humans in the past were not concerned with ritual and did
not leave traces in the archaeological record. Surely the question is
not whether a site may contain traces of 'ritual' but how one can be
reasonably sure that there isn't a mundane explanation for what is
found. That will no doubt depend on how much the person or persons
reporting what they have found is caught up the current accepted
paradigms and how far they are prepared to stick their necks out. I'm
thinking here of James Mellaart's excavations at Catal Huyuk. In the
early days when the idea of a 'Great Mother Goddess' was widely accepted
within the archaeological establishment his reports were all about this
site being a centre for her worship. Now that the general views about
such a deity have changed radically the tone of reports on excavations
at this site has also changed dramatically. Are things only true for a
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