Event Title

Human Pillars and Hungry Bridges: An Ethnological Study of Construction Sacrifice

Graduation Year

2013

Location

Room E104, Center for Natural Sciences, Illinois Wesleyan University

Start Date

20-4-2013 10:00 AM

End Date

20-4-2013 11:00 AM

Description

The practice of construction sacrifice (also called building sacrifice or foundation sacrifice), which entails burying an animal, object, or person inside a building under construction, exists in multiple traditions around the world, from Japan to Northern Europe, and is described in Slavic folk songs as well as early American folklore. The motivation for these sacrifices can broadly be divided into two categories: appeasement sacrifice, in which the sacrifice fulfills some need and allows the building to stand, and protective sacrifices, which protects the building from future damage. To date, there has been no overarching ethnological study conducted to try and draw together instances of this motif. This paper draws on archaeology, folklore studies, and the anthropology of constructed spaces.to discern commonalities in these beliefs and perhaps hint at their origins.

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Apr 20th, 10:00 AM Apr 20th, 11:00 AM

Human Pillars and Hungry Bridges: An Ethnological Study of Construction Sacrifice

Room E104, Center for Natural Sciences, Illinois Wesleyan University

The practice of construction sacrifice (also called building sacrifice or foundation sacrifice), which entails burying an animal, object, or person inside a building under construction, exists in multiple traditions around the world, from Japan to Northern Europe, and is described in Slavic folk songs as well as early American folklore. The motivation for these sacrifices can broadly be divided into two categories: appeasement sacrifice, in which the sacrifice fulfills some need and allows the building to stand, and protective sacrifices, which protects the building from future damage. To date, there has been no overarching ethnological study conducted to try and draw together instances of this motif. This paper draws on archaeology, folklore studies, and the anthropology of constructed spaces.to discern commonalities in these beliefs and perhaps hint at their origins.