The interpretations of unusual or special archaeological contexts in the Near Eastern Neolithic that might suggest the appearance of the first forms of religious belief in early sedentary communities have commonly been associated with magic practices or other concepts related to ritual performance or symbolism. The present work proposes alternative perspectives that focus on the term “sacred” as outlined by three renowned anthropologists: Girard, Durkheim and Eliade. This paper also discusses interpretative views on the development of symbolic and ritual forms in early Holocene societies in the Near East. It is argued that the sacred in the Neolithic is an externally manifested prosocial reality that is gradually adopted via mimetic practices. A number of Neolithic archaeological examples will be presented and analysed in light of mimetic theory and other key anthropological concepts.
How to Cite:
Cartolano, M., (2022) “Sacred precincts in the Neolithic of the Near East?”, Papers from the Institute of Archaeology 33(1). doi: https://doi.org/10.14324/111.444.2041-9015.1376