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The Archaeology of Darkness

The Archaeology of Darkness (Paperback)

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Synopsis

Through time people have lived with darkness. Archaeology shows us that over the whole human journey people have sought out dark places, for burials, for votive deposition and sometimes for retreat or religious ritual away from the wider community. Thirteen papers explore Palaeolithic use of deep caves in Europe and the orientation of mortuary monuments in the Neolithic and Bronze Age. It examines how the senses are affected in caves and monuments that were used for ritual activities, from Bronze Age miners in Wales working in dangerous subterranean settings, to initiands in Italian caves, to a modern caver's experience of spending time in the one of the world's deepest caves in Russia. We see how darkness was and is viewed at northern latitudes where parts of the year are spent in eternal night, and in Easter Island where darkness provided communal refuge from the pervasive sun. We know that spending extended periods in darkness and silence can affect one physically, emotionally and spiritually. How did interactions between people and darkness affect individuals in the past and how were regarded by their communities? And how did this interaction transform places in the landscape? As the ever-increasing electrification of the planet steadily minimises the amount of darkness in our lives, curiously, darkness is coming more into focus. This first collection of papers on the subject begins a conversation about the role of darkness in human experience through time.

History & PoliticsArchaeologyLandscape archaeologyPhilosophy, Psychology & Social SciencesPopular beliefs & controversial knowledgePhilosophy, Psychology & Social SciencesSociology Publisher: Oxbow Books Publication Date: 17/03/2016 ISBN-13: 9781785701917  Details: Type: Paperback Format: Books
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Dr. Marion Dowd is a Lecturer in Prehistoric Archaeology at the Institute of Technology Sligo, Ireland. For two decades her research has focussed on the human use of caves in Ireland, and specifically the role of caves in prehistoric ritual and religion. She has directed numerous archaeological excavations in Irish caves, and has lectured and published widely on the subject. Her first book, 'The Archaeology of Caves in Ireland' (Oxbow Books, 2015), won the Tratman Award 2015 and the Current Archaeology Book of the Year 2016 Robert Hensey is an archaeologist and author who specializes in the investigation of the Neolithic period with particular reference to Irish passage tombs. He has been involved in a number of field- and laboratory-based research projects including the Dating the Carrowmore Pins Project, Finding Art at Carrowkeel, Human Population Dynamics at Carrowkeel and, most recently, the Millin Bay Art Project.

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