The intersection of the sacred and the everyday in medieval Ireland

Author(s): John Soderberg

Year: 2015


A common vision of the medieval Irish monk involves the aesthetic alone at the edge of the world occasionally appearing to bring flashes of the sacred to the rest of us. Here, the sacred is carefully delimited from the profane. Archaeology has done much in recent decades to elaborate this portrait of the monk into a fuller vision of life at monasteries with all of its mundane entanglements. But, archaeology has largely deferred the task of considering the impact of all that information on how we think of these monasteries as sacred sites. One promising way forward is reconceptualizing ideas of the sacred so that they do not depend on dichotomies between sacred and profane. As the term ‘everyday religion’ suggests, the relevant pairing can shift to sacred and everyday: the goal being to understanding religious practices as entwined with the general practices of being human. The goal of this paper is to frame recent zooarchaeological work on monasteries in medieval Ireland in terms of everyday religion. Though the animal bones are not remains of sacrifice in the classical sense, considering them from the perspective of everyday religion can make them more than just evidence of foodways and identity politics.

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Cite this Record

The intersection of the sacred and the everyday in medieval Ireland. John Soderberg. Presented at The 80th Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, San Francisco, California. 2015 ( tDAR id: 395095)


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Spatial Coverage

min long: -11.074; min lat: 37.44 ; max long: 50.098; max lat: 70.845 ;