Ritual has always been a popular subject of study in archaeology and anthropology. Early ethnographers relished the details of its drama, and early archaeologists found it a convenient explanation for those finds they could not explain. More sophisticated modern scholars ponder the symbolic complexity of its action, and debate its social function. And yet, in all of this, there has been relatively little focus on the experience of ritual. What was it like to do any given ritual? What sort of experience were the participants trying to elicit from themselves? How did they modify the infinite possibilities of human action to create that experience?
Papers of the Norwegian Institute at Athens, No.6: Celebrations: sanctuaries and the vestiges of cult activity (2004)