Delegitimizing religion: The archaeology of religion as. .. archaeology

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

13 Scopus citations


I doubt that I am the first archaeologist to be drawn to the archaeology of religion simply because Christopher Hawkes (1954) and Lewis Binford (1965) said it shouldn’t be done-that religion was an inappropriate venue for archaeological inquiry. I study the archaeology of religion for the same reason I made gunpowder when I was 12-because I was told not to. Looking back, my interest in religion was little more than postmodern machismo. Fortunately, unlike my juvenile experiments with explosives, I finished my initial forays into the archaeology of religion with my eyebrows intact. I also came away doubting the value of Hawkes’s ladder of inference, not because the ladder unwittingly supported the most vulgar forms of materialism, nor because it assumed an artificial separation between the symbolic and material basis of society. All that came later. Rather, I was stunned at how easy an archaeology of religion actually is.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationBelief in the Past
Subtitle of host publicationTheoretical Approaches to the Archaeology of Religion
PublisherTaylor and Francis
Number of pages13
ISBN (Electronic)9781315433080
ISBN (Print)9781598743418
StatePublished - Jan 1 2016

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Social Sciences
  • General Arts and Humanities


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