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Sacred Spaces: Anthropological Aspects of Sacred Landscapes and Monuments

Places such as Mecca, Lourdes, St. Peter's Basilica, Bighorn Medicine Wheel, Chimayo, Mt. Kailash, Benares, and the World Trade Center are visited by thousands of pilgrims each year. Even in our state, there are many places - cemetaries, burial mounds, landmarks, etc. - that have similar intrinsic value, to contemporaries or in the past. This guide is intended to provide you with information on key reference works, databases, web sites, collections and organizations that may be useful to you in studying these sacred landscapes and places.

Table of Contents:

Finding Books, Journals & Other Materials
If you need to find articles, books or other materials, you will need to use MNCAT to determine whether or not those materials are available here on campus. Other major online catalogs - to search the holdings of libraries around the world - are also included. To access any materials not owned by the University Libraries, you will need to use our interlibrary loan services.
  • Library Catalog
    Search with the Library Catalog to find books, journals, etc. owned by the library. Search by keyword, subject, title, or author for materials on your topic.
    • WorldCat
      Find books, journals, articles, maps, music scores, sound recordings, films, theses/dissertations, machine-readable data files, and any other materials available in libraries worldwide. This covers all subject areas. Request items through Interlibrary Loan using the ILLiad link on each item's record. WorldCat is produced by OCLC (Online Computer Library Center, Inc.)
Handbooks & Guides
These books are intended to give you an overview of the field and tips on finding information and resources.
  • Introduction to Library Research in Anthropology, 2nd ed.
    This book is the standard for guiding library research in cultural anthropology. Weeks begins with a good overview of the field, followed by individual chapters detailing different kinds of sources including archives, databases, internet sites as well as conventional information sources like indexes and abstracting services, regional bibliographies and Library of Congress subject headings. An essential tool.
    • Location(s): TC Wilson Library Reference GN42 .W44x 1998 Non-Circulating
    • Check MNCAT Record for Location and Availability
  • Oxford Companion to Classical Civilization [electronic resource]
    Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2003. "Online version provides a survey of the Greek and Roman worlds in all their aspects. Drawing on the latest edition of the Oxford Classical Dictionary, the Companion offers articles on diverse fields such as, history and politics; ethics and morals; law and punishment; social and family life; language, literature, and art; religion and mythology; technology, science, and medicine."
  • Sacred Landscape Bibliography
    compiled by freelance writer catherine yronwode [sic] An annotated bibliography; each entry has keywords for searching using the site's search tool.
  • Sacred Landscapes in America
    This guide, from the University of California, Berkeley, Libraries covers resources related to "sacred landscapes across American ethnic and religious cultures, with an emphasis on California and the San Francisco Bay Area." Check MNCAT to see which titles would be owned here at the University of Minnesota.
  • Sage Research Methods Online
    SAGE Research Methods Online (SRMO) is a tool designed to help you create research projects and understand the methods behind them. SRMO's new taxonomy of over 1,400 unique methods terms links to authoritative content, including: Over 600 books; Dictionaries, encyclopedias, and handbooks; The entire "Little Green Book" and "Little Blue Book" series; Two major works collating a selection of journal articles; a small selection of video tutorials and video definitions pertaining to a specific research method chosen by the editors.
Encyclopedia & Dictionaries
These types of resources help you to get an overview or better understanding of some term, place or philosophy. We have hundreds of encyclopedia and dictionaries here in the Libraries. For something more specific to your needs, check MNCAT and search by keywords.
  • Burial Terminology: A Guide for Researchers
    By Roderick Sprague. Walnut Creek, CA: AltaMira, 2005. Contents includes: Historical background, field guide; Discussion of the classification; Form of disposal; Body preparation; Individuality; Articulation; Position; Deposition; Orientation, alignment, and facing; Grave goods or inclusions; Disposal container; Features; Description of disposal area; Demography; Excavation; and Data recording.
    • Location(s): TC Wilson Library CC77.B8 S97 2005 Regular Loan
    • Check MNCAT Record for Location and Availability
  • Concise Oxford Dictionary of Archaeology
    Ebook "with over 4,000 entries, entries cover vocabulary for archaeological work including including principles, theories, techniques, artefacts, materials, people, places, monuments, equipment, descriptive terms, and archaeolgical legislation in the United Kingdom and the United States."
  • Encyclopaedia Britannica Online
    Concise as well as scholarly articles on a wide range of subjects. Also includes links to related Internet resources, and the Britannica Book of the Year. Search tip: When combining words in search, capitalize AND. For example: revolution AND 1848
  • Encyclopedia of Anthropology Online
    Edited by H. James Birx. Thousand Oaks, CA: SAGE, 2007. A comprehensive, five-volume work with over 1,100 entries of original material written for this encyclopedia by educators and scholars in the natural and social sciences as well as philosophy. All articles are organized by keywords ranging from A to Z and an index. Entries cover the major areas of anthropology, as well as relevant topics in related disciplines, e.g., evolution, geology, paleontology, biology, sociology, psychology, philosophy, and theology. Available online for full-text access to the contents. Also available in print in Wilson Reference.
  • Encyclopedia of Archaeology
    "The Encyclopedia of Archaeology (2006) encompass all aspects of archaeology, including the nature and diversity of archaeology as a scientific discipline, the practice of archaeology, archaeology in the everyday world, and the future of the discipline. Featured are articles by leading authors that summarize archaeological knowledge at the beginning the 21st century, highlighting important sites and issues, and tracing the development of prehistoric cultures around the globe."
    • Location(s): TC Wilson Library On Order
    • Check MNCAT Record for Location and Availability
  • Encyclopedia of Historical Archaeology
    Edited by Charles E. Orser Jr. London: Routledge, 2002. This one-volume work presents overviews on various topics, including entries for folklore, geography, history, anthropology, and architecture among others. Organized alphabetically by topic, each entry includes a bibliography for further reading.
    • Location(s): TC Wilson Library Reference CC77.H5 E53 2002 Non-Circulating
    • Check MNCAT Record for Location and Availability
  • Gale Virtual Reference Library
    This website from the reference publisher, Gale, allows you to search through the full-text of tens of key reference works and encyclopedia. A great way to start a research project! Online, it can be used anywhere at anytime!
  • Landscape Encyclopaedia: A Reference Guide to the Historic Landscape
    By Richard Muir. Bollington, Cheshire: Windgather, 2004. Focussed on Britain and Ireland's historic landscapes, this encycopedia contains over 1200 entries providing explanations of the major terms, features and ideas discussed in landscape history and archaeology. Short entries describe less familiar terms, such as copyhold tenure, and longer articles discuss the subject's big themes, concepts and approaches, such as ancient countryside and aerial archaeology. The entries are cross-referenced and also brief bibliographies.
    • Location(s): TC Arch/L.Arch Reference DA600 .M85 2004 Two Hour Loan
    • Check MNCAT Record for Location and Availability
  • Oxford Encyclopedia of Ancient Egypt
    Featuring 600 original articles written by leading scholars, this encyclopedia offers the most complete picture available of ancient Egyptian civilization, from the predynastic era to its eclipse in the seventh century CE.
  • Pilgrimage From the Ganges to Graceland: An Encyclopedia
    By Linda Davidson & David Gitlitz. Santa Barbara, CA: ABC-CLIO, 2002. 2-volume set. Describing the study as "a journey to a special place, in which both the journey and the destination have spiritual significance for the journeyer," the encyclopedia presents over 600 entries. The work includes a listing of sites by country and an extensive bibliography.
    • Location(s): TC Wilson Library BL619.P5 D38 2002 TC Wilson Library Reference BL619.P5 D38 2002 Non-Circulating
    • Check MNCAT Record for Location and Availability
  • Religion and American Cultures: An Encyclopedia of Traditions, Diversity, and Popular Expressions
    Gary Laderman & Luis Leon, editors. Santa Barbara, Calif. : ABC-CLIO, 2003. "The only multicultural survey of established and "new" American religions, this exhaustive three-volume encyclopedia explores the fascinating interaction between religion and ethnicity, gender, regionalism, and popular culture."
    • Location(s): TC Wilson Library Reference Quarto BL2525 .R448 2003 Non-Circulating
    • Check MNCAT Record for Location and Availability
  • Sage Knowledge
    Search all library subscriptions from Sage Publishing including scholarly monographs, reference works, handbooks, series, professional development titles, and more.
  • Worldmark Encyclopedia of Cultures and Daily Life
    Useful for comparative overview of cultures. Most entries provide brief information in each of twenty standard categories for over 500 culture groups. v. 1. Africa / v. 2. Americas / v. 3. Asia and Oceania / v.4. Europe.
    • Location(s): WILSON Reference Quarto GN333 .W67 1998
Atlases & Maps
The University Libraries have thousands of maps and atlases available. These are just a few of the atlases which might be useful to you in your study. For a complete list of our holdings, use MNCAT.
  • Atlas of Sacred Sites
    "Sacred sites are the most loved and visited places on planet earth. Since prehistoric times they have exerted a mysterious attraction on billions of pilgrims from every region and religion. These holy places have the power to heal the body, enlighten the mind, and awaken the soul. Anthropologist Martin Gray spent 20 years as a wandering pilgrim to study and artistically photograph 1000 sacred sites in 80 countries. This web site features Martin's sacred art photographs and shows the location of sacred places and pilgrimage shrines around the world."
  • Historical & Cultural Atlas Resource (OSSHE)
    Historical maps, or maps made in contemporary times portraying past events and circumstances, are available here, some of them interactive. "The project is a joint effort of the Dept. of History and Dept. of Geography at the University of Oregon, and only covers Europe, Middle East & North Africa, and North America." A shockwave plug-in is required to use the interactive map resources.
  • Library of Congress Country Studies
    The Library of Congress Country Studies Series presents a description and analysis of the historical setting and the social, economic, political, and national security systems and institutions of countries throughout the world. The series examines the interrelationships of those systems and the ways they are shaped by cultural factors.
Core Scholarly Databases & Indexes
The University Libraries provides access to over 200 online databases and indexes as well as many more in print and on CD-ROM. If you need assistance in selecting the right database for your project, ask at any reference desk.
  • America: History and Life
    This index provides historical coverage of the United States and Canada from prehistory to the present with over 2,000 journals including all key English-language historical journals.
  • Anthropological Index of the Royal Anthropological Institute
    The Libraries will no longer subscribe to this resource effective October 1, 2007. The contents of this database are now included in Anthropology Plus. Please use Anthropology Plus. The Anthropological Index Online is based on the journal holdings of The Anthropology Library at the The British Museum (Museum of Mankind) which receives periodicals in all branches of anthropology, from academic institutions and publishers around the world. During 2000 and early 2001 a retrospective conversion was undertaken which has added some 100,000 records going back to 1957. These were originally published on paper as vols 1-22 of the Anthropological Index. As part of this work we have modified the existing data to enable searching by the language of the article.
  • Anthropology Plus
    Anthropology Plus brings together into one resource the highly respected Anthropological Literature from Harvard University and Anthropological Index, Royal Anthropological Institute from the UK. Anthropology Plus provides extensive worldwide indexing of journal articles, reports, commentaries, edited works, and obituaries in the fields of social, cultural, physical, biological, and linguistic anthropology, ethnology, archaeology, folklore, material culture, and interdisciplinary studies. The index offers excellent coverage of all core periodicals in the field in addition to local and lesser-known journals. Coverage is from the late 19th century to the present.
  • Anthropology Review Database
    "The Anthropology Review Database, ARD for short, is a brand new resource for anthropology and a member of a rare new species of online publication. Unlike traditional periodicals, ARD reviews are published individually, as soon as they clear the editorial process. Documents are housed in an online database where they can be accessed at any time. eginning in September of 1999, citations for reviews published in American Antiquity from 1990 to 1999 were added to the database, increasing our inventory four-fold. February, 2001, we entered into an arrangement with the American Journal of Physical Anthropology to include their review citations."
  • AnthroSource
    Current and archival journals from the American Anthropological Association (AAA). Current coverage includes 15 of the AAA's most critical peer-reviewed publications; including American Anthropologist, American Ethnologist, Anthropology and Education Quarterly, and Medical Anthropology Quarterly. The archive includes all AAA journals.
  • Art Full Text
    Art Full Text, produced by The HW Wilson Company, is a bibliographic database that indexes and abstracts articles from periodicals published throughout the world. There is full-text coverage for selected periodicals. Coverage includes English-language periodicals, yearbooks, and museum bulletins, as well as periodicals published in French, Italian, German, Japanese, Spanish, Dutch, and Swedish. In addition to articles, Art Full Text indexes reproductions of works of art that appear in indexed periodicals. Indexing coverage begins 1984; abstracting coverage begins with January 1994. The abstracts range from 50 to 300 words and describe the content and scope of the source articles. Full-text coverage begins in 1997.
  • ASCE Civil Engineering Database
    The Civil Engineering Database (CEDB) is designed to provide easy bibliographic access to all publications of the American Society of Civil Engineers. The database covers ASCE documents published since 1973. It provides access to all the journals, conference proceedings, books, standards, manuals, magazines, and newsletters.
  • Avery Index to Architectural Periodicals
    Recognized as one of the world's leading databases of the architectural literature. Indexes more than 1,000 western language periodicals published worldwide on architecture, archaeology, decorative arts, environmental studies, furniture, historic preservation, landscape architecture, urban planning/city planning, interior design, and historic preservation.

    The Libraries' subscription to this resource allows for 10 users at any one time. If you get a busy signal, please wait a few minutes and try accessing the site again.

  • Compendex
    Provides extensive indexing of scholarly and technical periodicals, conference proceedings, and report literature in all engineering disciplines including applied physics, electronics, materials science, and related fields in science and management. Indexes nearly 3000 sources worldwide.
  • Communication and Mass Media Complete
    Find academic journal articles on topics in mass media, film, television, marketing, and communications in business, health, and other communication studies.
  • Geobase
    GEOBASE is a multidisciplinary database of indexed research literature on the earth sciences, ecology, geology, human and physical geography, environmental sciences, oceanography, geomechanics, alternative energy sources, pollution, waste management and nature conservation.
  • Historical Abstracts
    Covers the world's scholarship in history from 1450 to the present.
  • MLA International Bibliography
    The MLA International Bibliography is a classified listing and subject index of scholarly books and articles on modern languages, literatures, folklore, and linguistics which has been compiled by the Modern Language Association of America since 1926.
  • Philosopher's Index
    features author-written abstracts covering scholarly research published in journals and books, including contributions to anthologies and book reviews. More on content at
  • Sociological Abstracts
    This core database for the field of sociology contains information on sociology and social policy worldwide. Sociological Abstracts includes citations from the 1952-present.
  • Urban Forestry
    Indexes publications relating to the history of urban forestry; urban forest legislation; the benefits of urban forests; selection and planting of trees; maintenance of the urban forest; planning and management; and urban forestry programs. Covers journal articles, books, conference proceedings, government documents. Database produced by the U of Minn Forestry Library.
  • Web of Science
    Search within a comprehensive interdisciplinary collection of journal article citations. Subjects generally covered are within Science and technology, arts and humanities, and social sciences . Use the citation web to find articles and journals with the most impact. Coverage runs from 1975 to the present. Find help on their website.
Key Web Sites
Googling, you can find thousands of pages on this topic. Here are just a few sites with good information and links for your research.
  • Anthropological Theories
    This browsable, searchable set of "guides to anthropological theories and approaches listed below have been prepared by graduate students of the University of Alabama under the direction of Dr. Michael D. Murphy." Each of the 16 theoretical traditions includes good background on the theories and history of them, information on key theorists, key works and links to useful web sites.
  • Place and Space in Philosophy
    Created by Professor Burce Jenz, this includes a useful hyperlinked bibliography of philosophical sources about place.
  • Places of Peace and Power: Sacred Sites and Pilgrimage Traditions of the World
    "Anthropologist Martin Gray spent 20 years as a wandering pilgrim to study and artistically photograph 1000 sacred sites in 80 countries." The site features hundreds of Gray's photographs, "information on the mythology, history and significance of the site," an atlas, bibliography, and a set of related links.
  • Sacred Places Directory
    "An index of stone circles, holy wells, sacred groves, temples, mountain tops, pyramids, caves, shrines, megaliths, ancient pilgrimage and vision quest sites, organized by region."
  • Society Pages
    An excellent set of links, blogs and other useful information related to sociology, politics and society. Created and maintained by University of Minnesota Sociology professors Doug Hartmann and Chris Uggen, this is an excellent place to learn how the principles, ideas and research in the field relate to our lives and help explain and understanding the world around us.
  • UNESCO World Heritage List
    The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) seeks to encourage the identification, protection and preservation of cultural and natural heritage around the world considered to be of outstanding value to humanity. The list contains over 800 locations, organized by country.
More Guides to Help You Find the Information You Need
  • History (general aspects)
    This subject covers: all periods of history and all geographical areas. Other related topics are: History, African; History, East Asian; History, European; History, United States.
  • Philosophy
    This subject covers: aesthetics, epistemology, logic, ethics, history of philosophy, moral and political philosophy, philosophy of logic and mathematics, philosophy of mind and psychology, philosophy of science.
  • Religious Studies
    This subject covers: the spiritual history and practices of human beings from mythological times to the present. Other related subjects are Philosophy, and Middle East Studies.
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