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Esoteric Spiritualties and Archaeology: Bridging alternative understandings of the ancient world

Author(s): David Anderson

Year: 2017

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Summary

Practitioners of esoteric religious traditions express profound interest in the ancient world as a source of wisdom. Yet the view of the ancient world forwarded by these groups is often one that archaeologists struggle to understand. It is a worldview that blends perceived ancient traditions from a variety of cultures into a new milieu that results in practices such as Kemetic Yoga and beliefs in Atlantis as a spiritual home for all humanity. This paper will focus on a case study of the beliefs, practices, and history of the Theosophical Society founded by Helena Blavatsky. The ways in which this esoteric spiritual group embrace notions of the ancient world reveal opportunities for archaeologists interested in promoting heritage preservation. I will argue that archaeologists can in particular use notions of shared global heritage to advocate for archaeological preservation among esoteric audiences.


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Esoteric Spiritualties and Archaeology: Bridging alternative understandings of the ancient world. David Anderson. Presented at The 81st Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Vancouver, British Columbia. 2017 ( tDAR id: 431717)


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Record Identifiers

Abstract Id(s): 14766

Arizona State University The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation National Science Foundation National Endowment for the Humanities Society for American Archaeology Archaeological Institute of America