Archaeology of Early Buddhism

Archaeology of Early Buddhism

Hardback Archaeology of Religion (Hardcover)

By (author) Lars Fogelin

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  • Publisher: AltaMira Press,U.S.
  • Format: Hardback | 256 pages
  • Dimensions: 152mm x 231mm x 23mm | 499g
  • Publication date: 28 February 2006
  • Publication City/Country: California
  • ISBN 10: 0759107491
  • ISBN 13: 9780759107496
  • Illustrations note: Illustrations, maps
  • Sales rank: 1,619,315

Product description

How do archaeologists explore the various dimensions of religion? Lars Fogelin uses archaeological work at Thotlakonda in Southern India as his lens in a broader examination of Buddhist monastic life. He discovers the tension between the desired isolation of the monastery and the mutual engagement with neighbors in the Early Historic Period. He also sketches how religious architectural design and use of landscape helped to shaped these relationships. Drawing on historical accounts, religious documents, and inscriptions, as well as results of his systematic archaeological survey, Fogelin is able to shed new light on the ritual and material workings of Early Buddhism in this region, and shows how archaeology can contribute to our understanding of religious practice.

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Author information

Lars Fogelin is a visiting assistant professor at Albion College. He received a B.A. in anthropology from Ithaca College, an M.A. from the Un iversity of Hawaii at Manoa, and a Ph.D. in anthropology from the University of Michigan in 2003. He has published in Asian Perspectives ('Ritual and Presentation in Early Buddhist Architecture,' 42:1) as well as in edited volumes in the U.S., Europe and India. He is co-editor, with Carla M. Sinopoli, of Imperial Imaginings: The Dean C. Worcester Photographic Collection of the Phillippines, 1890-1913, a cd-rom addressing American colonialism. Prior to his first trip to India in 1994, he conducted research in Israel, the Mediterranean, Peru, and the Dutch West Indies. Beginning in September 2000 he directed the Northeast Andhra Monastic Survey near the modern city of Visakhapatnam, India. In addition to South Asian archaeology, he has a strong interest in the archaeology of religion, architecture, landscape, and ceramic analysis.

Review quote

The publication of Archaeology of Early Buddhism will serve a very broad audience, including specialists of Buddhist monastic history and students of the material expression of ritual and religion in a complex cultural setting. Fogelin has effectively integrated modern theory on ritual, practice, and landscape with archaeological data from a key south Indian Buddhist monastery-Thotlakonda-to create a stimulating explanation of its place within a complex political, economic, and social setting. It is certain to become a classic in the field. -- Mark Aldenderfer, University of Arizona This is an important little book written with clarity and without jargon. It will, like no other, allow the historian and textual scholar to see what can and cannot be learned from the archeological study of a seemingly ordinary Buddhist monastery in early India. Fogelin's definition of the practice of phenomenology, incidentally, deserves to become a classic. -- Gregory Schopen, UCLA In this important work, Lars Fogelin brings rigorous archaeological research methodologies to bear on questions of religion, arguing that material evidence of religious practice is no more intractable than the many other culturally laden practices that archaeologists examine. Fogelin puts his perspective to the test in a nuanced exploration of ritual space, material culture, and sacred landscapes in and around an early historic Buddhist monastery in Southeast India. In so doing, he provides a valuable model for future scholars of religion to follow and makes important contributions to scholarship on early Buddhism and South Asian archaeology and to the larger audience of archaeologists and anthropologists interested in the study of ritual and religion. -- Carla Sinopoli, Professor of Anthropology, University of Michigan & Director of the University of Michigan Anthropology Museum I thoroughly enjoyed this book. Fogelin's writing is very clear, even when approaching the sticky bits of archaeological theory like (shudder) Marxism and phenomenology... the Archaeology of Early Buddhism is an excellent introduction both the the archaeology of Buddhism and practice theory as it is exercised in archaeology. Archaeology.About.Com Written to appeal to a wide audience, the book evokes successfully Thotlakonda's coastal landscape and provides good descriptions of the fieldwork. It is illustrated throughout with excellent maps, diagrams and photographs, and references are comprehensive. -- Sylvia Lachmann Fogelin's study of an Early Historic Period Buddhist monastery illustrates the growing sophistication of archaeological approaches to the study of religion. He addresses the place of ritual in the relationships between monks and the laity from the perspective of practice theory, along with the social roles and tensions of the monastery more generally. The result is both a nuanced understanding of the social context of religion, and a methodological primer for contemporary, theoretically-informed archaeology of religion. -- David S. Whitley, author, The Art of the Shaman; editor, Archaeology of Religion series [Fogelin's] work will go a long way in understanding the complex issue of religion in a locality. The Indian Economic and Social History Review, October 2008

Table of contents

1 Preface 2 Chapter 1: Archaeology and Early Buddhism 3 Chapter 2: A Brief History of the Early Historic Period in South Asia 4 Chapter 3: Buddhism in Early Historic Period South Asia 5 Chapter 4: Religion, Ritual, Architecture and Landscape 6 Chapter 5: Thotlakonda's Archaeological and Environmental Context 7 Chapter 6: Beyond the Monastery Walls 8 Chapter 7: The Architectural Layout and Organization of Thotlakonda Monastery 9 Chapter 8: Thotlakonda Monastery in its Local Landscape 10 Chapter 9: Conclusion 11 Glossary