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date: 27 February 2021

Abstract and Keywords

This article explores religious beliefs about personhood and religious practices relating to those beliefs. The first part focuses on concepts of the person, particularly the constitution of the person. The second part examines the role of embodied ritual action in generating and transforming persons according to cosmological principles and within a religious framework. Examples are selected from ethnographic, historical, and archaeological sources. Until recently there has been relatively little research on personhood in archaeology and little of that explicitly addresses religious beliefs and practices. Although it discusses some important archaeological work, the article highlights areas of enquiry which could be pursued in future archaeological studies much more than it summarizes a tradition of archaeological research, and is more for archaeologists interested in personhood, ritual, and religion than it is about the work of previous archaeologists.

Keywords: religious beliefs, religious practices, person, ritual, cosmological principles, archaeology

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