The study of belief, faith and religious practices can provide a deep insight into historical societies, whether Christian, Muslim, Jewish or pagan. They form a constant of human behaviour. Through religion, cult and rituals, multi-layered and complex cultural norms are expressed, demonstrating group affiliation. However, popular devotion and belief in a rural environment can include practices that are out with those of the official religion.
Some of these practices discussed in this book can be investigated through archaeology. Important religious sites like churches, monasteries, mosques and synagogues as well as caves, holy wells and hermitages are discussed. Furthermore burials of children, revenants and the condemned are analysed, as they often deviate from normal practice and shed light on particular communities and their beliefs. Rituals concerning the protection of buildings and persons which focus on objects attributed with religious qualities are another area explored. Through archaeological research it is possible to gain an understanding of popular religion of medieval and early modern times and also to draw conclusions about religious ideas that are not written in documents. By bringing together these topics this book is of particular interest to scholars working in the field of archaeology, history and cultural anthropology.
The addressed subjects were the theme of an international conference of the RURALIA association held in Clervaux, Luxemburg, in September 2015. Ruralia promotes the archaeology of medieval settlement and rural life. Current research questions in rural archaeology are discussed in an European wide context. The aim is to strengthen the exchange of knowledge in, and the development of, archaeologically comparable studies, and to make archaeological results available to other disciplines.
This book contains papers in English, French and German
Foreword – Vorwort – Avant-Propos
Einleitung zum Tagungsband.
Past and Present meet: Contemporary expressions of faith along the Camino Frances. Observations by a modern pilgrim.
Court-yard sites and their cultic context.
Anomaly or myth? Sami circular offering sites in medieval northern Norway.
Livs’ Offering Cave (Latvia): new discoveries.
Les gravures de « la Table des Bergers ».
Struell : Bathing at midsummer and the origins of holy wells.
Medieval Hermit Caves and Rock-Cut Hermitages in Great Britain.
Klostergründungen – in mystischen Wäldern oder an urbaren Feldern?
Privately Founded Benedictine Monasteries in Medieval Hungary – a case study: Pétermonostora, the monastery and a settlement without written history.
Edit Sárosi – Szabolcs Rosta
The byzantine settlement of Shivta in the Negev desert and its churches: An analysis of their spatial arrangement within the settlement and its social implications.
Réflexions topologiques sur les églises antérieures à 1050 dans l’ancien diocèse de Tongres-Maastricht-Liège.
Philippe Mignot – Frédéric Chantinne
Le site de Sainte-Catherine-de-Fierbois (Indre-et-Loire, France) : un nouvel exemple d’édifice religieux/funéraire alto-médiéval en contexte d’habitat rural.
Cyrille Ben Kaddour
Le phénomène de pierres antiques incorporées dans des édifices chrétiens au Grand-Duché du Luxembourg – état de recherche et nouvelles questions.
Rural mosques and settlements: some reflections from the Archaeology of al-Andalus (11th-13th centuries).
Jorge A. Eiroa
Landjudentum im nordbayerischen Franken. Geschichte und Archäologie.
Priest houses in rural settlements of Medieval Hungary.
Tibor Ákos Rácz
Sépultures des marges et sépultures marginales : sur quelques exemples médiévaux de la moitié sud de la France.
Rock-cut graves and cemeteries in the medieval rural landscape of the Viseu region (central Portugal).
A Place for the Ancestors: Early Medieval Burial Sites in the Central Area of the Iberian Peninsula.
Iñaki Martín Viso
Mortuary archaeology and variation in death culture in eastern North-Brabant (the Netherlands), c. 900-1900 AD.
The identity of the community and the identity of the individual: the burial of the deceased within the settlement in the Middle Ages in Northern Croatia.
Siniša Krznar – Tatjana Tkalčec
A Village is pushed aside – The Pilgrimage with Stillborns to the Holy Shrine of the Virgin Mary in Oberbüren (Canton of Berne, Switzerland).
‘Deviant’ Burials in Rural Environment in the High Middle Ages – Ritual, the lack of ritual, or just another kind of it?
Der würdige und der unwürdige Tod im schlesischen Dorf des 13. bis 18. Jahrhunderts.
The investigation of traces of religious cults and practices in the medieval rural archaeology of Hungary.
Lay devotion in rural and urban contexts in Medieval Sweden.
Brabantian fields, blessed land – A study about the origins of artefacts found in arable land.
J.P.W. (Johan) Verspay
“Building sacrifices“ and magical protection. A study at canton of Grisons (CH).
Building offerings from rural farms – folk beliefs with deeper roots.
Archéologie des pratiques apotropaïques entre Lorraine et Luxembourg.
Zauberbohrungen, magische Zeichen und „Hexenbriefe“ – Spuren von Alltagsmagie in Bauernhäusern aus Nordwestdeutschland.
Magical dwelling: apotropaic building practices in the New World Dutch cultural hearth.
Walter Richard Wheeler
Specialized in medieval and post-medieval archaeology, Christiane Bis-Worch (1966) is curator of the department for medieval and post-medieval archaeology at the Centre national de recherché archéologique (CNRA) since 2004. Her missions include, among others, the archaeological investigations on site and the dispatching of the obtained scientific results in the Grand-Duchy of Luxembourg.
Claudia Theune is Professor of Historical Archaeology at the University of Vienna with a focus on contemporary archaeology, on medieval and post-medieval marginal landscapes and on early medieval funeral and social archaeology.