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Personally I think that (saying this with the archaeology writer hat on more
than the Pagan one) most important, built-to-last sites have some sort of
"ritual aspect" to them, both past and present, BUT that is not necessarily
their primary or sole purpose.

Stonehenge (for example) may have been the site of farmers markets, jumble
sales, musical gigs, law courts, local govt meetings, et al, but it likely
also had astronomical and ritual activities on the Solstices and other solar
and lunar festivals too.

In the 21st century, Millenium Stadium and new St Marys Stadium may have had
Druid blessings performed at their openings, but their primary purpose are
sport venues:-)

Lets get our archaeological priorities in the correct order of significance.

Hwyl,

Cerri
http://www.technopagans.co.uk
"for those who honour the past but love living in the present"


----- Original Message -----

> 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
> while?
>
> Andy N