Archaeology, Anthropology and Cult: The Sanctuary at Gilat, Israel

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Oxbow says: Gilat is a Chalcolithic site located in the northern Negev Desert of Israel. Based on seven seasons of excavation at the site, Thomas Levy and his colleagues have revealed this as an important pan-regional sanctuary, presenting a unique opportunity to investigate the development of a prominent ritual centre alongside the social evolution of an early society during the late 5th and early 4th millennium BC. This large tome comprises a collection of thematic essays which combine archaeological data, placed within the context of emerging social hierarchies, chiefdoms, craft specialisation and religious life, with anthropological theory. Whilst one chapter discusses the emergence of shrine centres in New Guinea as a theoretical point of reference, another presents data on the ground stone artefacts found at Gilat. Biological evidence from Gilat is also presented and discussed, including environmental and human remains, as well as evidence for production and exchange. What social processes were taking place in the region which permitted the development of the sanctuary at Gilat? What rituals were carried out there? What purpose did these rituals serve? These and many other questions are discussed.
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Table of Contents

Preface Thomas E. Levy. I. Theory - Archaeology, Anthropology and Cult: Exploring Religion in Formative Middle Range Societies Thomas E. Levy; Cults, Shrines and the Emergence of Regional Ritual Centers: The View from New Guinea Donald F. Tuzin; Tribal Pilgrimages to Saint's Tombs in South Sinai Emanuel Marx; The Rise of a New Negev Cult Center Today: Baba Sali's Sanctuary in Netivot, Israel Yoram Bilu; II. Archaeological Foundations; 1. The Sanctuary Sequence: Excavations at Gilat: 1975-77, 1989, 1990-92 Thomas E. Levy, David Alon, James D. Anderson, Yorke M. Rowan and Morag Kersel; III. Biological Data from Gilat; 2. Farming? Feasting? Herding? Large Mammals from the Chalcolithic of Gilat Caroline Grigson; 3. Marine and Riverine Shells from Gilat Daniella E. Bar-Yosef Mayer; 4. Death and the Sanctuary: The Human Remains from Gilat Patricia Smith, Tania Zagerson, Pamela Sabari, Jonathan Golden, Thomas E. Levy and Leslie Dawson; IV. The Emergence of Gilat as a Regional Cult Center - Production and Exchange; 5. Tracking Ceramic Production at Gilat: Petrographic Studies Yuval Goren; 6. Gilat's Ceramics: Cognitive Dimensions of Pottery Production Catherine Commenge, Thomas E. Levy, David Alon and Eric Kansa; 7. Flint Tool Production at Gilat Yorke M. Rowan; 8. Gilat's Ground Stone Assemblage: Stone Fenestrated Stands, Bowls, Palettes and Related Artifacts Yorke M. Rowan, Thomas E. Levy, Yuval Goren and David Alon; 9. The Worked Bone from the Chalcolithic Site of Gilat - Interim Report Caroline Grigson; V. Processes of Integration: The Emergence of a Pan-Regional Ritual Center; 10. The Intensification of Production in the Gilat Sanctuary: Dimensions of Textile and Other Forms of Manufacture Thomas E. Levy, Yorke M. Rowan, Wendy Conner and David Alon; 11. Gilat's Figurines: Exploring the Social and Symbolic Dimensions of Representation Catherine Commenge, Thomas E. Levy, David Alon and Eric Kansa; 12. Conclusion: The Evolution of a Levantine Regional Cult Center Thomas E. Levy

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