Archaeology of Animism in Southeast Asia

    The worship of spirits and other animistic practices are prevalent across Southeast Asia

    Besides the major world religions, spirit worship is common across Southeast Asia. There are numerous anthropological studies that point to animism, totemism and spirit cults as key drivers of culture, social relationships and collective identity in Southeast Asia. Animism in Southeast Asia is often described as a community-centered religion where spirits provide blessings for the local people through well known patterns which vary from region to region. Anthropological studies across Southeast Asia have noted that the animistic practices of spirits have been part of everyday life for centuries. More notable, this belief in the spirit world often exists side by side with adherents of the world religons. The syncretic nature of spirit belief in Southeast Asia means they are deeply ingrained in everyday life, often considered vital for personal well-being and public welfare.

    To cite this page: Tan, Noel Hidalgo (Updated 30 November 2021) Archaeology of Animism in Southeast Asia. Southeast Asian Archaeology. Available at:

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