The main objective of this review is to consider what archaeology can contribute to general anthropological theories on “ritual in its own right” and to highlight the potential for advancing knowledge about ritual experience as a distinctive material process. An examination of the exceptional material frame marking ceremonial events demonstrates the value of ritual as a heuristic and challenges archaeologists who privilege the interpretation of religion, affect, ontology, or cultural rationalities as necessarily determinative of the ritualization process. Therefore, archaeologists should not interpret ritual places and residues as immediate proxies of other sociopolitical realities but instead should base their inferences on cross-contextual analyses of archaeological data sets. Ultimately, attention to the amplified materialization of the ritual process, often entailing the performative bundling of disparate material items in archaeological deposits, permits a re-evaluation of theories proposing that ritual is intimately connected to agency and power.


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