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A favourite but deplorable term commonly used by archaeologists looking to explain unfamiliar patterns in material culture that seem to have no functional explanation. Ritual strictly refers to practices connected with magical, supernatural, or religious experiences and beliefs, ritual deposits being the result of material culture deployed as part of such practices. It is now widely recognized, however, that in non‐capitalist, non‐westernized societies there is no formal boundary between what is ritual and secular, between the sacred and the profane.

Subjects: Classical Studies.

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