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ANTH 390

Topics in Anthropology

An exploration of selected topics in anthropology, culture and society (see Anthropology of the U.S. and topics listed under ANTH 290.) Prerequisite: sophomore standing. May be repeated for credit with different topics.

Distribution Area Prerequisites Credits
Sophomore standing 1/2-1 course

Fall Semester information

Rebecca Schindler

390A: Tps:The Archaeology of Cult

Through investigation of the material remains of cult practice, this course seeks to understand how past human cultures interacted with the divine world. We will begin with a critical review of the major anthropological and archaeological theories on the interpretation of religion and ritual activity. Over the course of the semester we will apply these theories to the evidence from the ancient Mediterranean, from prehistoric settlements in Anatolia, to the Panhellenic sanctuaries of ancient Greece, to the temple complexes of the Roman world and the advent of Christianity. Cult sites in the ancient world not only served as loci for ritual performance, but also as places of political and economic power. Different categories of evidence -- from marble sculptures to the remains of animal sacrifices -- reflect the worship practices of diverse members of the community, challenging us to understand how ancient religion permeated all levels of society. The methodological problems inherent in the interpretation of the archaeological evidence for cult practices also present an opportunity for us to examine our own assumptions and biases about religion in non-monotheistic cultures.