Historicizing Cosmologies in Australia and Papua New Guinea

Bruno David

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

 Historicizing Cosmologies in Australia and Papua New Guinea

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The dual historical method allows the investigation of a religious past that could potentially have been different from that of ethnographic times. The method attempts to historicize the present by gradually tracking back in time ethnographically known religious and ritual practices and cosmologies, in the process enabling archaeologists to identify discontinuities by which historical emergences could then be targeted and further explored. World views, and with this religious experience, are treated as historical and emergent (as with all other aspects of culture), and it is the task of archaeology to explore this historical emergence and cultural dynamism. Explicitly or implicitly, this aim to historicize ethnography has formed the methodological cornerstone of most research on the archaeology of religion and ritual in Australia and Papua New Guinea. This article focuses on this archaeological historicization of ethnographic cosmology and ritual.

Keywords: historicization; ethnographic cosmology; ritual; religion; dual historical method; ethnography

Article.  11044 words. 

Subjects: Archaeology ; Historical Archaeology

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