While ritual and archaic states have both been prominent topics in recent archaeological studies, this is the first volume to combine both subjects by exploring the varying nature, expression, and significance of ritual in archaic states. It compares archaic rituals across many different cultures-Vijayanagara, Swahili Lamu, Venice, Asante, Aztec, Ming China, Oaxaca, Greece, Inca, Wari, and Chaco. The contributors posit that the nature of rituals, the level of investment in rituals, and their sociopolitical significance can vary greatly from state to state, even among societies with similar levels of social complexity, population, and spatial distribution. Highlighting the importance of ritual as an inherent part of a cultural narrative, and demonstrating how the study of ritual enables a better understanding of diverse social groups, this volume shows how the location, frequency, and role of ritual differed significantly across archaic states.
Joanne M. A. Murphy, assistant professor of classical studies at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro, USA, is the editor of Prehistoric Crete: Regional and Diachronic Studies on Mortuary Systems.