In recent years classicists and ancient historians have devoted renewed attention to the Archaic Age in Greece, the period from approximately the eighth century to the fifth century BC. Important articles, excavation reports and monographs, as well as books by Moses Finley, L. H. Jeffery, Oswyn Murray, Chester Starr and others, not to mention a recent volume of the Cambridge Ancient History, bear witness to the vigor of recent scholarship in this area. Among many of these treatments of the period, moreover, is evident an increasing recognition of the close connection between social and economic developments and the political life of the Greek cities of the period. At the same time that this renewed interest in the Archaic Age has become so prominent in classical studies, a group of scholars working in more modern periods has developed a fresh approach to the role of ritual and ceremonial in civic life, especially during the European Middle Ages and Renaissance. Deeply influenced by cultural anthropology, they have found in the often surprisingly rich documentation about festivals, processions, charivaris etc. important insights into the societies in which these activities took place. Classicists looking upon this movement may be inclined to undervalue its originality and perhaps its controversiality, pointing out that a serious interest in ancient festivals has long been prominent in classical scholarship and is well represented in recent books such as those by Mikalson, Parke and Simon and such older works as Martin Nilsson's frequently cited Cults, myths, oracles and politics in ancient Greece (Lund 1951). Yet there is a great difference both in method and in results between the traditional approaches to ceremonial represented in the study of ancient Greece and those being developed in more recent fields.