World Archaeology The Archaeology of Celebrations

Volume 50, Issue 1

World Archaeology

To mark the 50th Anniversary of World Archaeology, we are inviting papers that explore the subject of ‘celebrations’.

Celebrations are a seemingly universal phenomenon within human societies, yet there has been little coherent attempt to examine them, cross culturally, from archaeological perspectives. What motivates people to celebrate and how might celebrations be detected and interpreted from the material record? 

The topic of feasting has received considerable coverage within archaeology and anthropology but while food and drink are common elements of celebrations, there are many other mechanisms through which people acknowledge significant events. These may be small-scale acts that occur at the level of the individual, such as the taking of trophies (e.g. animal or human body parts, such as teeth) to celebrate success in hunting or warfare. Alternatively, celebrations may involve many people and large-scale investment, such as the crafting and erection of monumental architecture to mark the victories of groups and their leaders (be they political, military or sporting). Religious celebrations and festivals may also leave their mark in material terms, in the form of votive offerings.

In addition to work that address specific instances of celebratory behaviour, we are particularly interested in comparative papers that address  how celebrations vary with social complexity or gender relations, or whether there are overarching traits that unify or separate the celebrations of hunter-gatherers, farmers, pastoralists or urban-dwellers. Similarly, papers that examine how celebrations vary with geographical climate, intensity of seasonality, or annual cycles are welcome.

Questions and topics for papers need not be restricted to past cultures. For instance submissions might consider how the discipline of archaeology is employing celebratory rhetoric and linked events to justify its own existence, with the likes of ‘The Festivals of Archaeology’.   

Submission Deadline

Submit your paper online via the journal's ScholarOne™ website: by 30th Septemeber 2017.

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