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dc.contributor.authorKelleher, Matthew
dc.date.accessioned2009-04-02
dc.date.available2009-04-02
dc.date.issued2002-01-01
dc.identifier.urihttp://hdl.handle.net/2123/4138
dc.descriptionDoctor of Philosophyen
dc.description.abstractThis thesis examines the material correlates of religious behaviour. Religion is an important part of every culture, but the impact religion has on structuring material culture is not well understood. Archaeologists are hampered in their reconstructions of the past because they lack comparative methods and universal conventions for identifying religious behaviour. The principal aim of this thesis is to construct an indicator model which can archaeologically identify religious behaviour. The basis for the proposed model stems directly from recurrent religious phenomena. Such phenomena, according to anthropological and cognitive research, relate to a series of spatio-temporally recurrent religious features which relate to a universal foundation for religious concepts. Patterns in material culture which strongly correlate with these recurrent phenomena indicate likely concentrations of religious behaviour. The variations between sacred and mundane places can be expected to yield information regarding the way people organise themselves in relation to how they perceive their cosmos. Using cognitive religious theory, stemming from research in neurophysiology and psychology, it is argued that recurrent religious phenomena owe their replication to the fact that certain physical stimuli and spatial concepts are most easily interpreted by humans in religious ideas. Humans live in a world governed by natural law, and it is logical that the concepts generated by humans will at least partially be similarly governed. Understanding the connection between concept and cause results in a model of behaviour applicable to cross-cultural analysis and strengthens the model’s assumption base. In order to test the model of religious behaviour developed in this thesis it is applied to a regional archaeological matrix from the Blue Mountains National Park in New South Wales, Australia. Archaeological research in the Blue Mountains has tentatively identified ceremonial sites based on untested generalised associations between select artefact types and distinctive geographic features. The method of analysis in this thesis creates a holistic matrix of archaeological and geographic data, encompassing both qualitative and quantitative measures, which generates a statistical norm for the region. Significant liminal deviations from this norm, which are characteristic indicators of religious behaviour are then identified. Confidence in these indicators’ ability to identify ceremonial sites is obtained by using a distance matrix and algorithms to examine the spatial patterns of association between significant variables. This thesis systematically tests the associations between objects and geography and finds that a selective array and formulaic spatiality of material correlates characteristic of religious behaviour does exist at special places within the Blue Mountains. The findings indicate a wide spread if more pocketed distribution of ceremonial sites than is suggested in previous models. The spatial/material relationships for identified religious sites indicates that these places represent specialised extensions of an interdependent socio-economic system where ceremonial activity and subsistence activity operated in balance and were not isolated entities.en
dc.publisherUniversity of Sydney.en
dc.publisherDept. of Archaeologyen
dc.rightsThe author retains copyright of this thesis.
dc.rights.urihttp://www.library.usyd.edu.au/copyright.html
dc.subjectArchaeology and religion -- New South Wales -- Blue Mountainsen
dc.subjectAboriginal Australians -- Blue Mountains (N.S.W. : Mountains)en
dc.subjectAboriginal Australians -- New South Wales -- Religionen
dc.subjectReligion, Prehistoric -- New South Wales -- Blue Mountainsen
dc.subjectSacred space -- Blue Mountains (N.S.W. : Mountains)en
dc.titleArchaeology of sacred space : the spatial nature of religious behaviour in the Blue Mountains National Park Australiaen
dc.typePhD Doctorateen
dc.date.valid2003-01-01en


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