Vladimir I. IONESOV

(Higher School of Privatization and Enterprise, Samara International Society for Cultural Studies ‘Artefact – Cultural Diver-sity”, Russia)

In this paper I will attempt to give a social interpretation of material culture through the comprehension of symbolic artefacts and meanings of things in ritual practice of complex society and first of all by analyzing recent archaeological data from the site of Djarkutan, the greatest early urban center of the Proto-Bactrian civilization.
I have evidence that symbolic artifacts were “magical” objects through which people tried to affect and influence their immediate environment. The things, which acquired a ritual sense were becoming a focus of human activity being included into the ritual, they began to play a cultural role as important means of ritualization of social conflicts.
I am pursuing the following general theoretical points in the study of symbolic things and ritual expres-sions: a) every symbolic thing is a means of transmitting vital issues of society, cultural meanings and so-cial challenges; b) ritual process is a mode of regulating social relations, reflecting experiences of integra-tion inside the cultural system; c) every ritual is symbolic expression and abbreviated act, and ritual action is connected with social attributes; d) any objects of material culture used in society are always focused on social relations and symbolic identification.
I came to the conclusion that any objects of material culture are complicated semantic system of sym-bolic communication is created within the mythological-ritual space. This process reflects the most im-portant meanings of cultural transformation and social survival.

Keywords: things, ritual, meaning, transformation, symbol