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date: 02 June 2020

Abstract and Keywords

Despite a wealth of studies on the history of the medieval sensory world, key issues remain regarding how sensory experiences were constructed and conducted, and thus impacted the archaeological record. A particularly overlooked consideration has been the relationship between worshipper and church building, as the senses played an integral part in determining not only devotional experience, but also the formation of its aesthetic and physical setting. This overview provides a general introduction to the archaeology of the senses, addressing the role of the senses in late-medieval society with emphasis on their impact on religion and spirituality, and how current understandings have arisen. It then examines the possibilities for how the senses might be interpreted and understood through the archaeological evidence available today. It will be argued that the senses played an integral part within daily life but particularly within worship which, at this time, structured society in the widest sense.

Keywords: senses, cult of saints, spirituality, late-medieval religion, sensory experiences, synaesthesia, ecclesiastical history, church architecture, late-medieval England, pilgrimage

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