Syncretism and Religious Fusion

Timothy Clack

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

Syncretism and Religious Fusion

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Archaeology can positively supplement wider understandings of syncretism and thus corresponding research is of both local interest and global significance. For example, archaeology can augment interpretations by giving temporal depth to anthropological appreciations of experience and identity, in recognizing how the past is recapitulated in the present, and in identifying the materiality of assimilation and contestation. This article sketches out definitional and conceptual issues relating to syncretism and provides a limited overview of anthropological and archaeological approaches to the theme. It outlines two broad theoretical bases for archaeological research into religious fusion, makes some comment as to the potential and future for related archaeological investigations, and highlights archaeological and anthropological research currently subsumed within such foundations. The final section covers a theme that cuts through all theoretical approaches to syncretism: the correspondence between power and religious fusion.

Keywords: archaeology; archaeological research; syncretism; religious fusion; anthropological research; power

Article.  7990 words. 

Subjects: Archaeology ; Historical Archaeology

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