Journal of Mediterranean Archaeology, Vol 24, No 1 (2011)

Practical Movements: Kinetic Rituals in the Ancient Western Mediterranean

Mireia Lόpez-Bertran
Issued Date: 24 Jun 2011


Scholars have studied the long-distance movements of people and goods in Phoenician and Punic society between the eighth and the second centuries BC in considerable depth. However, little attention has been paid to travelling, walking and sailing as common activities in their daily lives. it was through living in and moving through landscapes and seascapes that people constructed their sense of place. Sacred places may have been nodal points in these settings and everyday movements may well have become ritualized. This article develops the idea that journeys to shrines might be considered as pilgrimages and stresses the kinetic aspect of these practices. I suggest that trips to shrines were important elements in the ritualization of movements and landscapes. Equally, the movements performed by visitors both inside and outside the shrine have the same significance and are essential to achieving what are known as metaphoric movements. We explore these ideas in two settings, the Phoenician-Punic Western Mediterranean shrines in the cave of Es Culleram (Ibiza, Balearic Islands, Spain) and Gorham's Cave (Gibraltar, United Kingdom), which date from the period between the eighth and the second centuries BC.

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DOI: 10.1558/jmea.v24i1.85


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