How do archaeologists explore the various dimensions of religion? Lars Fogelin uses archaeological work at Thotlakonda in Southern India as his lens in a broader examination of Buddhist monastic life. He discovers the tension between the desired isolation of the monastery and the mutual engagement with neighbors in the Early Historic Period. He also sketches how religious architectural design and use of landscape helped to shaped these relationships. Drawing on historical accounts, religious documents, and inscriptions, as well as results of his systematic archaeological survey, Fogelin is able to shed new light on the ritual and material workings of Early Buddhism in this region, and shows how archaeology can contribute to our understanding of religious practice.
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