The series integrates the analysis of the formative role of cognition, symbolism, and ideology in human societies with the more material and economic dimensions of human culture analysed in archaeology.
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Death, grief and funerary practices are central to any analysis of social, anthropological, artistic and religious worlds. However, cemeteries - the key conceptual and physical site for death - have rarely been the focus of archaeological research. Prioritizing Death and Society examines the structure, organisation and significance of cemeteries in the Southern Levant, one of the key areas for both migration and settlement in both prehistory and antiquity. Spanning 6,000 years, from the Chalcolithic to the present day, Prioritizing Death and Society presents new research to analyse the formation and regional variation in cemeteries. By examining both ancient and present-day - nationally Jewish - cemeteries, the study reveals the commonalities and differences in the ways in which death has been and continues to be ritualised, memorialised and understood.
Until the First World War, Near Eastern society was tribally organised. In the Levant and the Arabian peninsula, where the Ottoman empire was weak, large and powerful tribes such as the Anaze, Beni Sakhr and Shammar competed for control of the land, the people and the economy. This in-depth study explores the history, archaeology and anthropology of tribal society, economy and politics in the villages, towns and deserts of the Near East in the nineteenth century. Drawing on a wide range of historical accounts from travellers, adventurers and explorers as well as archaeological evidence, the book sheds new light on tribal life and tribal organisation as a driving force in Near Eastern society. While a straight comparison between ancient and more recent tribal communities must be treated with caution, the book shows how a better understanding of nineteenth-century tribal ethics and customs provides useful insights into the history and power relations of the more distant past and the underlying causes for the present conflicts of the region. The book is an important addition to new research on Bedouin life and culture and will be of interest to historians, archaeologists, anthropologists and scholars of the Near East.
The archaeological sites of Mexico's Yucatan peninsula are among the most visited ancient cities of the Americas. Archaeologists have recently made great advances in our understanding of the social and political milieu of the northern Maya lowlands. However, such advances have been under-represented in both scholarly and popular literature until now. The Ancient Maya of Mexico presents the results of new and important archaeological, epigraphic, and art historical research in the Mexican states of Yucatan, Campeche, and Quintana Roo. Ranging across the Middle Preclassic to the Modern periods, the volume explores how new archaeological data has transformed our understanding of Maya history. The Ancient Maya of Mexico will be invaluable to students and scholars of archaeology and anthropology, and all those interested in the society, rituals and economic organisation of the Maya region.
Many West African societies have egalitarian political systems, with non-centralised distributions of power. Egalitarian Revolution in the Savanna analyses a wide range of archaeological data to explore the development of such societies. The volume offers a detailed case study of the village settlement of Kirikongo in western Burkina Faso. Over the course of the first millennium, this single homestead extended control over a growing community. The book argues that the decentralization of power in the twelfth century BCE radically transformed this society, changing gender roles, public activities, pottery making and iron-working. Egalitarian Revolution in the Savanna will be of interest to students of political science, anthropology, archaeology and the history of West Africa.
From the first Jewish revolt against Rome in the first century CE to contemporary Islamic fanaticism, faith in the hands of religious zealots has been a powerful and often catastrophic means of enacting radical change. Ultimate Devotion examines a range of religious movements across history to reveal the striking similarities in the way they emerged, the characters of their leaders and followers, and their often tragic conclusions. A rich variety of archaeological materials intersect with textual evidence and anthropological theory to develop a model of mass action inspired by intense religion. In its exploration of religious rebellion in history, Ultimate Devotion illuminates religious fanaticism today.
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