Rites in the dark? An evaluation of the current evidence for ritual areas at Magdalenian cave sites

Pablo Arias

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It is likely that ritual activity existed (and even played an important role) in the life of Upper Palaeolithic groups. However, rites are among the aspects of human behaviour most elusive to archaeological research. In this paper, we will analyse the evidence from several Magdalenian cave sites where the existence of ‘sanctuaries’ or other kinds of ritual activity has been claimed. The available methods for the evaluation of this kind of area will be discussed, and a preliminary assessment of some recently documented sites will be proposed.