Skip to main content Accessibility help
Hostname: page-component-768ffcd9cc-kfj7r Total loading time: 0.412 Render date: 2022-12-03T16:16:20.208Z Has data issue: true Feature Flags: { "useRatesEcommerce": false } hasContentIssue true

Article contents

Too many ancestors

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  02 January 2015

James Whitley*
School of History & Archaeology, Cardiff University, PO Box 909, Cardiff CF10 3XU, Wales.
Rights & Permissions[Opens in a new window]


HTML view is not available for this content. However, as you have access to this content, a full PDF is available via the ‘Save PDF’ action button.

Have ancestors replaces chiefs as the defining entity of prehistory? This provocative view from the Mediterranean world may provoke a little debate.

Copyright © Antiquity Publications Ltd. 2002


Antonaccio, C. M. 1995. An archaeology of ancestors: tomb cult and hero cult in early Greece. Lanham (MD): Rowman & Littlefield.Google Scholar
Barrett, J. C. 1994. Fragments from antiquity: an archaeology of social life in Britain, 2900–1200 bc . Oxford: Blackwell.Google Scholar
Barrett, J. C., Bradley, R. & Green, M. et al. 1991. Landscape, monuments and society: Theprehistory of Cranbourne Chase. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Bloch, M. 1971. Placing the dead: tombs, ancestral villages and kinship organisation in Madagascar. London: Seminar Press.Google Scholar
Bloch, M. 1985. Almost eating the ancestors, Man n.s. 20: 63146.Google Scholar
Bloch, M. 1996. Ancestors, in Barnard, A. & Spencer, A. (ed.), Encyclopedia of social and cultural anthropology. 43. London: Routledge.Google Scholar
Bradley, R. 1984. The social foundations of prehistoric Britain: themes and variations in the archaeology of power. London: Longman.Google Scholar
Bradley, R. 1987. Time regained: the creation of continuity, Journal of the British Archaeological Association 140: 117.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Bradley, R. 1993. Altering the earth: the origins of monuments. Edinburgh: Society of Antiquaries of Scotland.Google Scholar
Carson, R. A. G. & O’Kelly, C.. 1977. A catalogue of the Roman coins from Newgrange Co. Meath: notes on the coins and related finds, Proceedings of the Royal Irish Academy 77C: 3555.Google Scholar
Edmonds, M. 1999. Ancestral geographies of the Neolithic: landscape, monuments and memory. London: Routledge.Google Scholar
Fortes, M. 1976. An introductory commentary, in Newell, (ed.): 116.Google Scholar
Goldstein, L. 1981. Ono-dimensional archaeology and multidimensional people: spatial organisation and mortuary analysis, in Chapman, R. W., Kinnes, I. & Randsborg, K. (ed.), The archaeology of death: 5369. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
Goody, J. 1962. Death, property and the ancestors: a study of the mortuary customs of the LoDagaa of West Africa. London: Tavistock.Google Scholar
Hingley, R. 1996. Ancestors and identity in the later prehistory of Atlantic Scotland: the reuse and reinterpretation of Neolithic monuments and material culture, World Archaeology 28: 23143.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Hodder, I. 2000. British prehistory: some thoughts looking in (reviewing Edmonds 1999), Cambridge Archaeological Journal 10: 37680.Google Scholar
Kakridis, I.Th. 1978. I Archaii Ellines sti Neoelliniki Laiki Paradosi. Athens: Morphtiko Idryma Ethnikis Trapezis.Google Scholar
Kerner, K. 1976. The malevolent ancestor: ancestral influence on a Japanese religious sect, in Newell, (ed.): 20517.Google Scholar
Kirk, T. 1993. Space, subjectivity, power and hegemony: Megaliths and long mounds in early Neolithic Britanny, in Tilley, C. (ed.), Interpretative archaeology: 181223. Oxford: Berg.Google Scholar
Kopytoff, I. 1971. Ancestors as elders in Africa, Africa 41(2): 12942.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Lane, P. 1986. Past practices and the ritual present: examples from the Welsh Bronze Age, Archaeological Review from Cambridge 5.2: 18192.Google Scholar
Le Roux, C. T. 1985. New excavations at Gavrinis, Antiquity 59: 1837.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Mazarakis-Ainian, A. 1999. Reflections on hero cults in Early Iron Age Greece, in Hägg, R. (ed.), Ancient Greek hero cult: Proceedings of the Fifth International Seminar on Ancient Greek Cult: 936. Stockholm: Paid Astrom.Google Scholar
Meillassoux, C. 1972. From reproduction to production: a Marxist approach to economic anthropology, Economy and Society 1: 93105.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Morris, I. 1991. The archaeology of death: the Saxe/Goldstein hypothesis revisited, Cambridge Archaeological Journal 1: 14769.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Newell, W. H. 1976a. Good and bad ancestors, in Newell, (ed.): 1729.Google Scholar
Newell, W. H. (Ed.). 1976b. Ancestors. The Hague: Mouton.Google Scholar
O’Kelly, M. J. 1982. Newgrange: archaeology, art and legend. London: Thames & Hudson.Google Scholar
Ooms, H. 1976. A structural analysis of Japanese ancestral rites and beliefs, in Newell, (ed.): 6190.Google Scholar
O’RahillY, T. F. 1946. Early Irish history and mythology. Dublin: Dublin Institute for Advanced Studies.Google Scholar
O’Sullivan, S. 1966. Folktales of Ireland. London: Routledge & Kegan Paul.Google Scholar
Parker Pearson, M. 1999. The archaeology of death and burial. Stroud: Sutton.Google Scholar
Parker Pearson, M. & Ramilisonina, . 1998. Stonehenge for the ancestors: the stones pass on the message, Antiquity 72: 30826.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Renfrew, C. 1976. Megaliths, territories and populations, in de Lael, S. J. (ed.), Acculturation and continuity in Atlantic Europe: 198220. Bruges: de Tempel.Google Scholar
Snodgrass, A. M. 2000. The archaeology of the hero, in Buxton, R. (ed.), Oxford readings in Greek religion: 18090. Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
Thomas, J. 1991. Rethinking the Neolithic. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
Tilley, C. 1994. A phenomenology of landscape: places, paths and monuments. Oxford: Berg.Google Scholar
Tilley, C. 1996. An ethnography of the Neolithic: early prehistoric societies in southern Scandinavia. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
Tilley, C. 1999. Metaphor and material culture. Oxford: Blackwell.Google Scholar
Trigger, B. 1984. Alternative archaeologies: nationalist, colonialist, imperialist, Man n.s. 19: 35570.Google Scholar
Uchendu, V. C. 1976. Ancestorcide! Are African ancestors dead?, in Newell, (ed.): 28396.Google Scholar
West, M. L. 1978. Hesiod: Works and Days: edited with Prolegomena and Commentary. Oxford: Clarendon.Google Scholar
Whitley, J. 1995. Tomb cult and hero cult: the uses of the past in Archaic Greece, in Spencer, N. (ed.), Time, tradition and society in Greek archaeology: bridging the ‘Great Divide’: 4363. London: Routledge.Google Scholar
Whittle, A. 1996. Europe in the Neolithic: the creation of new worlds. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
Whittle, A. 1998. People and the diverse past: two comments on ‘Stonehenge for the ancestors’. Antiquity 72: 8524.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Wolf, A. P. 1976. Aspects of ancestor worship in Northern Taiwan, in Newell, (ed.): 33964.Google Scholar
Wolters, P. 1899. Vasen aus Menidi II, Jahrbuch des deutschen archäologischen Instituts 14: 10335.Google Scholar
Yoffee, N. 1993. Too many chiefs (or, Safe text for the 90s), in Yoffee, N. & Sherratt, A. (ed.), Archaeological theory: who sets the agenda?: 6078. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
You have Access
Cited by

Save article to Kindle

To save this article to your Kindle, first ensure is added to your Approved Personal Document E-mail List under your Personal Document Settings on the Manage Your Content and Devices page of your Amazon account. Then enter the ‘name’ part of your Kindle email address below. Find out more about saving to your Kindle.

Note you can select to save to either the or variations. ‘’ emails are free but can only be saved to your device when it is connected to wi-fi. ‘’ emails can be delivered even when you are not connected to wi-fi, but note that service fees apply.

Find out more about the Kindle Personal Document Service.

Too many ancestors
Available formats

Save article to Dropbox

To save this article to your Dropbox account, please select one or more formats and confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you used this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your Dropbox account. Find out more about saving content to Dropbox.

Too many ancestors
Available formats

Save article to Google Drive

To save this article to your Google Drive account, please select one or more formats and confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you used this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your Google Drive account. Find out more about saving content to Google Drive.

Too many ancestors
Available formats

Reply to: Submit a response

Please enter your response.

Your details

Please enter a valid email address.

Conflicting interests

Do you have any conflicting interests? *