The Mesolithic

Chantal Conneller

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

The Mesolithic


This article discusses the archaeology of religion and ritual in the Mesolithic, covering rites of passage, sacred places, shamanism, and animals. There have been huge advances in understandings of Mesolithic ritual and religion in recent years, not least because these have finally been accepted as legitimate topics for debate. However, this is still a young field and much remains to be interrogated. The cemeteries still tend to dominate discussions of ritual and religion within these new approaches, just as they dominated approaches to understanding Mesolithic society in the 1970s and 1980s. Other sources need to be explored; the disarticulated remains that are frequent finds on Mesolithic sites potentially suggest very different ritual practices and understandings of the body from those the cemeteries provide.

Keywords: religion; ritual; rites of passage; sacred places; shamanism; animals; cemeteries; archaeology

Article.  6752 words. 

Subjects: Archaeology ; Prehistoric Archaeology

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