Cambridge University Press, 2017. — 342 p. — ISBN 978-1-107-14356-2.The origins of religion and ritual in humans have been the focus of centuries of thought in archaeology, anthropology, theology, evolutionary psychology and more. Play and ritual have many aspects in common, and ritual is a key component of the early cult practices that underlie the religious systems of societies in all parts of the world. This book examines the formative cults and the roots of religious practice from the earliest times until the development of early religion in the Near East, in China, in Peru, in Mesoamerica and beyond. Here, leading prehistorians, biologists, and other specialists bring a fresh approach to the early practices that underlie the faiths and religions of the world. They demonstrate the profound role of play ritual and belief systems and offer powerful new insights into the emergence of early societies.Introducing ritual, play and belief, in evolution and early human societies Introduction: play as the precursor of ritual in early human societies The origins, evolution and interconnections of play and ritual Play and creativity Pretend and socio- dramatic play in evolutionary and developmental perspective Pretend play, cognition and life- history in human evolution From play and ritualisation to ritual and its arts - Sources of upper pleistocene ritual practices in lower middle pleistocene ritualised and play behaviours in ancestral hominins Maya sacred play Communal performance and ritual practice in the ancestral puebloan era of the american southwest Architecture and imagery in the early neolithic of south- west asia Dancing with masks in the proto-historic near east Ritual, mimesis and the animal world in early china Manipulating the bones - eating and augury in the maltese temples Play, ritual and transformation - sports, animals and manhood in egyptian and aegean art Bull games in minoan crete - social and symbolic dimensions Epic games The ballgame, boxing and ritual blood sport in ancient mesoamerica Rituals, games and learning Play and ritual - some thoughts from a material- culture perspective Believing in play and ritual The pentagram of performance - ritual, play and social transformationweb-description
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