In this timely collection, Neil Price provides a general introduction to the archaeology of shamanism by bringing together recent archaeological thought on the subject. Blending theoretical discussion with detailed case studies, the issues addressed include shamanic material culture, responses to dying and the dead, shamanic soundscapes, the use of ritual architecture and shamanism in the context of other belief systems such as totemism. Following an intial orientation reviewing shamanism as an anthropological construct, the volume focuses on the Northern hemisphere with case studies from Greenland to Nepal, Siberia to Kazakhstan. The papers span a chronological range from Upper Palaeolithic to the present and explore such cross-cutting themes as gender and the body, identity, landscape, architecture, as well as shamanic interpretations of rock art and shamanism in the heritage and cultural identity of indigenous peoples. The volume also addresses the interpretation of shamanic beliefs in terms of cognitive neuroscience and the modern public perception of prehistoric shamanism.
Neil Price is a Lecturer in Archaeology at the University of Uppsala, Sweden. He has written extensively on the Viking Age, and has conducted research projects in France, Iceland, Russia and Sápmi (Lappland).