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Early FarmersThe View from Archaeology and Science$
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Alasdair Whittle and Penny Bickle

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780197265758

Published to British Academy Scholarship Online: May 2015

DOI: 10.5871/bacad/9780197265758.001.0001

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Stewing on a Theme of Cuisine

Stewing on a Theme of Cuisine

Biomolecular and Interpretive Approaches to Culinary Changes at the Transition to Agriculture

Chapter:
(p.197) 11 Stewing on a Theme of Cuisine
Source:
Early Farmers
Author(s):

Hayley Saul

Aikaterini Glykou

Oliver E. Craig

Publisher:
British Academy
DOI:10.5871/bacad/9780197265758.003.0011

In the last two decades scientific techniques have opened up new avenues in archaeological studies of food. In particular, biomolecular approaches generate datasets with fundamentally different resolutions compared to traditional macro-remains. Equipped with these datasets, the authors probe the possibility for discussing new themes in food studies, through an investigation of cuisine. Following a critical review of theoretical approaches to subsistence and prestige food economies, they suggest that cuisine is a social expression of past food evaluation processes. By reconstructing pottery use at two sites that span the transition from foraging to farming in northern Europe (c.4,000 cal BC) using organic residue analysis, they suggest that understanding how food was valued is important in explaining the wider economic changes during this period. The foodstuffs that were carefully chosen to be processed in pottery fulfilled contingent social purposes beyond economic necessity.

Keywords:   Biomolecular archaeology, cuisine, pottery use, foraging-farming transition, Northern Europe, organic residue analysis

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