Terje Oestigaard

in The Oxford Handbook of the Archaeology of Ritual and Religion

Published in print October 2011 | ISBN: 9780199232444
Published online September 2012 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Handbooks in Archaeology



Water in the archaeology of ritual and religion includes water as a perspective and water as empirical data. The life-giving waters in society and religion are the fresh waters in their many facets in the hydrological cycle. Water is always in a flux. The fluid matter changes qualities and capacities wherever it is, and it always takes new forms. This transformative character of water is forcefully used in ritual practices and religious constructions. The religious water-worlds, cosmologies, beliefs, and ritual practices are evident in the archaeological record, mythology, and written sources. This article identifies different types of water, the particular qualities associated with each of them, and how water materializes as religious and ritual structures, practices, and beliefs.

Keywords: ritual; religion; archaeology; hydrological cycle

Article.  5797 words. 

Subjects: Archaeology ; Historical Archaeology

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