Rituals, Collapse, and Radical Transformation in Archaic States explores the role of ritual in a variety of archaic states and generates discussion on how the decline in a state’s ability to continue in its current form affected the practices of ritual and how ritual as a culture-forming dynamic affected decline, collapse, and regeneration of the state.
Chapters examine ritual in collapsing and regenerating archaic states from diverse locations, time periods, and societies including Crete, Mycenean and Byzantine Greece, Mesopotamia, India, Africa, Mexico, and Peru. Underscoring similarities in a variety of archaic states in the role of ritual during periods of threat, collapse, and transformation, the volume shows how ritual can be used as a stabilizing or divisive force or a connecting medium between the present to the past in an empowering way. It also highlights the diversity of ritual roles and location in similar situations and illustrates how states in close proximity and sharing many cultural similarities can respond differently through ritual to stress and contrast the different response in rural and urban settings.
Through detailed, cultural specific studies, the book provides a nuanced understanding of the diverse roles of ritual in the decline, collapse, and regeneration of societies and will be important for all archaeologists involved in the important notions of state "collapse" and "regeneration".
Table of Contents
1. Ritual during periods of decline, collapse, and transformation in ancient states
Joanne M. A. Murphy
2. Old deities for new men: religious practices and societal transformation during the Late Bronze Age/ Early Iron Age transitional period on Crete
3. Rituals and tombs during the radical transformation of the Pylian state
Joanne M. A. Murphy
4. The legacy of Byzantine Christianity in the southern Mani Peninsula, Greece, after imperial collapse
Rebecca M. Seifried
5. As Wari weakened: ritual transitions in the Terminal Middle Horizon of Moquegua, Peru
Donna J. Nash and Patrick Ryan Williams
6. Ritual resilience and adaptation in the wake of political transformation at Dainzú, Oaxaca, Mexico
Ronald K. Faulseit, Dante García, Jeremias Pink, Gabrielle Alma López, and Carlos Rojas
7. Rejecting, reinventing, resituating: a diachronic perspective on ritual in the aftermath of Tiwanaku state collapse
8. Contextualizing the ritual phase in the evolution of eastern and southern African chiefdoms and states
Chapurukha M. Kusimba
9. Flux and continuity in monument-building traditions in south India
Srikumar M. Menon
10. Merit-making at ancient Bagan, Myanmar: the role of socio-spiritual and political-cultural entanglements in the rise and fall of a classical Southeast Asian state
Gyles Iannone and Michael Aung-Thwin
11. Scales and pathways of human politico-economic affiliation: the roles of ritual
Gary M. Feinman
Joanne M. A. Murphy is an associate professor of Classical Studies at the University of North Carolina Greensboro. Her work focuses on the archaeology of ritual and death in Bronze Age Greece and has addressed these issues in both the early small-scale communities of Crete and the later states on the mainland.
"This book is a must-read for students of collapse. In viewing collapse through the important social, institutional, and political lens of ritual, it reveals a fruitful avenue for further research and for describing and explaining aspects of collapse. It is a lens that allows us to focus on various levels and parts of a society in collapse." – Guy D. Middleton, AJA