Walking into the Shadows in the Iberian Ritual Caves (6th–1st Centuries BC)

Author(s): Sonia Machause López

Year: 2018


The power of the underground has attracted ritual practitioners over the centuries. Natural places, such as caves, have some intrinsic sensorial power which helps to create a ritual atmosphere. In the Iberian Iron Age (6th–1st centuries BC), ritual production has been recognized in some caves through the identification of the material patterns, along with other physical and sensorial particularities. Although each cave is different, those cavities in which we find evidence of ritual practice have certain elements such as water, complete darkness or ritual memory. These elements are important to the performance of ritual activities, because they call up sensorial feelings. It is unlikely that the entire audience participated in the whole ritual process. Some practices, performed in the dark zones of the caves, would have been reserved for specific individuals based on class, age, and gender. In this paper I reconstruct ritual performances based on context and analyses of artifact assemblages.

Cite this Record

Walking into the Shadows in the Iberian Ritual Caves (6th–1st Centuries BC). Sonia Machause López. Presented at The 82nd Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Washington, DC. 2018 ( tDAR id: 443876)

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Spatial Coverage

min long: -10.151; min lat: 29.459 ; max long: 42.847; max lat: 47.99 ;

Record Identifiers

Abstract Id(s): 20083