eesti teaduste
akadeemia kirjastus
SINCE 1997
Archaeology cover
Estonian Journal of Archaeology
ISSN 1736-7484 (Electronic)
ISSN 1406-2933 (Print)
PDF | doi: 10.3176/arch.2010.2.02

Ester Oras
The article discusses problems concerning the ways of defining and distinguishing ritual wealth deposits in archaeological material. Some characteristics of ritually interpreted wealth deposits are stated and a contextual approach to the problem is presented via the example of Estonian Middle Iron Age material. The main aim of the discussion is to show that the definition of ritual as well as the set of ritualizing contexts are closely related to specific research and its questions, and through that also to the researcher him-/herself. The multifaceted character of ritual is explained and therefore it is argued that it is necessary to talk about ritual through its variable characteristics specified in the framework of a specific study. As an example, a list of contextual criteria for distinguishing ritual wealth deposits in Estonian Middle Iron Age material is presented.

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