What is ritual? What does ritual mean to you? People around the world have taken part in rituals throughout history.

Although archaeologists talk about ritual a lot, it can be hard to explain. For this exhibition, rituals are actions people do that have a special meaning or purpose to them or their society. The aim is to achieve a desired outcome or effect. 

Ritual is not just something that happened in the past, but is something we do in our daily lives today. Do you have a favourite object you carry to bring you luck? Do you have a favourite thing you like to do to cheer you up when you’re feeling sad? Have you ever thrown a coin into a wishing well? These are also rituals.

We are students on the MA Museum and Artefact Studies course at Durham University. This online exhibition was created alongside a physical exhibition we curated at Durham University’s Museum of Archaology about the idea of ritual.  In the first part of this online exhibition, we will be discussing some of the objects from our physical exhibition to find out more about why the things people care about end up in rivers.

When creating our exhibition we also learned that ritual is not something that only happened in the past, but it still happens in our everyday lives today. Therefore in the second part of this online exhibition we will be showing our own objects to show examples of ritual in everyday life. We come from different places around the world, and our objects reflect different cultures and backgrounds.

As you look at these objects, we hope you think about what ritual means to you! You can even share your own ritual object with us.

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So, What Does Ritual Mean To You?

Please feel free to share your own ritual by clicking the button below

This exhibition was created by MA Museum and Artefacts Studies students at Durham University.

Thank you!