As some Pagans attempt to revive ancient or indigenous religions they often rely on the work of historians, primary texts and archaeologists. For this reason, when something new pops up that challenges long held academic ideas on cultural or religious practice, we pay attention. Here are some of the new(er) finds making waves in archaeological circles. Previously unknown ancient culture found in Peru
Archaeologists working in the Atacama Desert in Peru discovered more than 150 burials belonging to a previously unknown farming culture dating to between the 4th-7th century CE. The graves didn’t have any stone structures or other ways to mark them, and experts think this may be why they were not looted by grave robbers or found by earlier explorers.
[Note: This article was updated to reflect changes in the case that were made public after publication. See below.]
BRAZIL — On April 28 a federal judge in Brazil stated as part of an official court ruling that “African-Brazilian cults are not religions” because their “religious events do not contain [the] necessary traits of a religion.” The ruling continues on to define these necessary traits as “a basic text (Quran, Bible, etc.), a hierarchical structure and a God to be worshiped.” (O Globo, 5-20-2014). In the opinion of Federal Judge Eugenio Rosa de Araujo, Candomblé and Umbanda do not meet that definition. The ruling was the outcome of a case filed by the Federal Public Ministry or Ministério Público Federa (MPF) in Rio Janiero. The MPF is the public prosecution office whose mission is “to promote … justice for the good of society and in defense of the democratic rule of law.”