From fire walking to funerals, the hidden science of the rituals that give life meaning

Ritual is perhaps the oldest, and certainly the most enigmatic, thread in human culture. Apparently pointless ceremonies pervade every documented society: from handshakes to hexes, hazings to parades. Before we learned to farm, we were gathering in giant stone temples. And yet, though rituals exist in every culture and can persist nearly unchanged for centuries, their logic has remained a mystery until now.

Today, a fearless new generation of anthropologists is venturing into this shadowy realm. Armed with cutting-edge technology and drawing on discoveries from a huge range of disciplines, they emerge with a powerful new perspective on our place in the world. Join the pathfinding scientist Dimitris Xygalatas on a tour of human culture at its strangest. In coronations, in silent prayer, in fire-walks and in all the bewildering variety of humanity's ritual life, Xygalatas reveals the deep and subtle mechanisms that bind us together.

Paperback / softback  B-format paperback  320pp  h196mm  x  w128mm  x s20mm  257g  colour plate section  B Format Paperback 

ISBN13: 9781788161039