Ritual time: The struggle to pinpoint the temporality of ritual practice using archaeobotanical data

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

3 Scopus citations

Abstract

Ritual practices frequently express multiple dimensions of time. Rituals themselves are temporally choreographed practices. Rituals also mark different moments or culturally important temporal events. This chapter considers the strengths and limitations to reconstructing the temporality of ritual practices using archaeobotanical data. The dataset consists of archaeobotanical remains from an Epiclassic period (ca. AD 600–900) shrine site in the northern Basin of Mexico. Using ethnographic and ethnohistoric records, I attempt to interpret the temporality of ritual practices based on an assessment of the ecological characteristics of taxa identified as well as on a consideration of symbolic characteristics of calendrical rituals. This endeavor reveals limitations to ecological and symbolic approaches to pinpoint the temporality of ritual practices as well as to the nature of ethnographic and ethnohistoric analogues. But this study is nevertheless an important exercise in understanding the qualitatively dynamic nature of time in the past.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationSocial Perspectives on Ancient Lives from Paleoethnobotanical Data
PublisherSpringer International Publishing
Pages145-158
Number of pages14
ISBN (Electronic)9783319528496
ISBN (Print)9783319528472
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 1 2017

Keywords

  • Mesoamerica
  • Paleoethnobotany
  • Ritual
  • Time

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Sciences(all)
  • Arts and Humanities(all)
  • Environmental Science(all)

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    Morehart, C. (2017). Ritual time: The struggle to pinpoint the temporality of ritual practice using archaeobotanical data. In Social Perspectives on Ancient Lives from Paleoethnobotanical Data (pp. 145-158). Springer International Publishing. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-52849-6_7