• PhD Tõnno Jonuks



By using archaeological material and comparing it with analogies from oraltradition we can putatively identify some holy places which have been im-portant in past religions, but which have lost their holiness over the course oftime and due to changes in past religions. In doing this, it would be importantto distinguish two categories of holy sites. First, there are classic holy places,the knowledge of which predominantly derives from the living religion andliving folk tradition, and which relate primarily to the folk religion of the re-cent past. But in addition there are also sites that may have had significanceas holy places in different periods of the past, but which have lost this mean-ing and together with it also the folklore as the main source material. Thus itis important to consider other sources, such as archaeological sites, finds etc.,in order to recognize places which may have had an importance in the contextof some past religion. It is clear that we cannot see the whole of the holy land-scape of the past, but such an approach still permits us to observe holy placesin a more dynamic way, where the meaning of places has changed togetherwith the rest of religion, society and the settlement pattern, and where holyplaces may have been abandoned or new places brought into use.


AI = Archaeological collection of the Institute of History at Tallinn University

TÜ = Archaeological collection of the University of Tartu

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