Material Culture And Sacred Landscape

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Overview

This study provides a concrete example of how foraging societies enculturate and transform the natural environment and, through the use of material objects, create sacred spaces and sites. Using ethnographic and ethnohistorical information about the Khanty of Siberia, Jordan shows the shortcomings of both interpretive and materialist anthropological theorizing about hunters and gatherers. He focuses on the rich and complex relationship between the symbolism of the Khanty, their material culture, and the bringing of meaning to physical places. His examination looks at the topic in both historical and contemporary contexts, and in scales from the core-periphery model of Russian colonialism to the portrait of a single yurt community. Jordan's work will be of importance to those studying cultural anthropology, archaeology, and comparative religion.
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Editorial Reviews

Anthropos
The book is a superb achivement, and should become essential reading for students of mind and culture alike.
CHOICE
The first detailed and authoritative study of Khanty material culture to appear in English... photos of Khanty people, objects, and locations enhance the clearly written and well-organized text, helping to make this book a useful resource for both the ethnologically curious and the professional anthropologist or historian.
— E. J. Vajda
Journal Of The Royal Anthropological Institute
Peter Jordan significantly enriches the enthnographic literature on the Khanty of Western Siberia in this ambitious monograph.
Canadian Journal Of Archaeology
This is a sorely needed addition to a few English ethnographies on Siberia. It provides fascinating new information and insights.
Slavic Review
Offers a fascinating and theoretically rich examination of the Malyi Iugan Khanty's appropriation of, engagement with, and ongoing reproduction of the landscapes in which they dwell.
Choice
The first detailed and authoritative study of Khanty material culture to appear in English... photos of Khanty people, objects, and locations enhance the clearly written and well-organized text, helping to make this book a useful resource for both the ethnologically curious and the professional anthropologist or historian.
— E. J. Vajda, Western Washington University
Oxbow Book News
Aside from from bringing an important and ill-understood contemporary hunter-gatherer-fisher culture to the fore, Jordan's book offers new and exciting insights into how people perceive and give meaning to the natural landscape and their place within it.
from the Foreword by Robert Layton
A valuable contribution to the study of hunter-gatherer culture and survival.
from the Foreword by Richard Bradley
Peter Jordan's book explores the complex symbolism of Siberian Khanty ritual landscapes and material culture. It offers fresh insights into the ways in which small-scale hunting and gathering communities inhabit what we might otherwise assume to be unaltered natural terrain. The ethnography presented in this book should inspire fresh considerations about the past and invite a welcome change from the bleak abstraction that can make the interpretation of much of earlier prehistory so dull. This book deserves to have considerable influence, and we must be grateful to the author for writing it.
CHOICE - E. J. Vajda
The first detailed and authoritative study of Khanty material culture to appear in English... photos of Khanty people, objects, and locations enhance the clearly written and well-organized text, helping to make this book a useful resource for both the ethnologically curious and the professional anthropologist or historian.
Journal of Anthropological Research, Vol. 60, 2004 - Thomas F. Thornton
This study, based on the author's doctoral thesis, is an ambitious attempt to bring together the burgeoning literature on space and place with recent studies of landscape archaeology and material culture in order to analyze the historical and contemporary 'landscape enculturation' of Siberian Khanty hunter-gatherers....this book represents a significant contribution to Khanty ethnography, hunter-gatherer studies, and the anthropology of landscape, space, and place.
Cambridge Archaeological Journal, Vol. 14.1, April 2004 - Neil Price
Material Cultural and Sacred Landscape has gained a considerable word-of-mouth reputation among circumpolar scholars, which is more than borne out on closer inspection. . . . Peter Jordan's book makes a fundamental contribution to the literature on Siberian peoples. It provides a deep anthropology that belies its modest trappings (at first glance it looks a rather unassuming book), and I have little doubt that in the future it will be counted alongside other insightful works such as Shirokogoroff's Psychomental Complex of the Tungus (1935) as a classic of northern spirituality. More importantly from a broader perspective, this volume presents a challenging meditation on the archaeology of belief and its role in society.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780759102774
  • Publisher: AltaMira Press
  • Publication date: 2/28/2003
  • Series: Archaeology of Religion Series
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 320
  • Product dimensions: 5.80 (w) x 8.90 (h) x 0.90 (d)

Meet the Author

Peter Jordan is Senior Lecturer at the Department of Archaeology, University of Aberdeen .
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Table of Contents

Part 1 Foreword: Landscape Anthropology Part 2 Foreword: Landscape Archaeology and Ethnographic Analogy Part 3 Preface Part 4 Chapter One: Anthropology, Hunter-Gatherers, Social Theory Part 5 Chapter Two: Material Culture and Landscape Part 6 Chapter Three: Locating the Siberian Khanty in Time, Space and Culture Contact Part 7 Chapter Four: Entering into Ethnography: Malyi Iugan Khanty Society and Economy Part 8 Chapter Five: The Role of Animals in Routine and Ritual Practice Part 9 Chapter Six: Sacred Places in the Landscape Part 10 Chapter Seven: Enculturation of Place: Settlements of the Sacred, the Living and the Dead Part 11 Chapter Eight: Enculturation of Space: Landscape, Tenure and Territoriality Part 12 Chapter Nine: Conclusions: A Landscape Anthropology of the Siberian Khanty Part 13 References Part 14 Index
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