Session: #347

Theme & Session Format

Interpreting the archaeological record: artefacts, humans and landscapes
Session format:
Regular session

Title & Content

Food Economy and Foodways of Jews and Muslims through the Ages – Archaeological Insights
Food economy and foodways of religious communities are rarely in the main focus of research in archaeology and zooarchaeology. The main reasons behind this are simple: the paucity of the available archaeological data, and the difficulty of attributing archaeological record to particular religious groups. These problems have been addressed by a number of case studies published in recent years, which showed the potential of archaeology in identifying the presence of Jews and Muslims in the past, and have contributed to a growing body of evidence. These studies, however, have mostly been site-specific, and little attention has been placed on large-scale analysis of development and changes in the foodways of Jews and Muslims. This session aims to address this issue, bringing together and summarising research from a wide array of archaeological contexts.
We welcome contributions focusing on food economy and foodways within two main themes. The first one is concerned with food-related interactions between Jews and Muslims or with their Christian neighbours. This may include the analysis of the quality of animals (size, sex, and age) or meat (specific cuts) traded between local religious majorities and minorities, which may provide information on the disproportion of power and the relationship of these groups. The second theme concerns regional changes, developments, and differences in foodways within Jewish and Muslim communities. This includes local status and wealth of particular Jewish or Muslim households, evolution of kosher and halal foodways, and local food-related traditions in different countries based on species and body part representation, butchery patterns, supported by material culture and literary sources.
The session is open to papers using animal remains and/or material culture from Jewish and Muslim archaeological sites of domestic nature from different chronological periods.
Jews, Muslims, zooarchaeology, foodways, economy, religion
Session associated with MERC:
Session associated with CIfA:
Session associated with SAfA:
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Main organiser:
Mik Lisowski (United Kingdom) 1
Idoia Grau-Sologestoa (Switzerland) 2
Veronica Aniceti (United Kingdom) 1
1. University of Sheffield
2. University of Basel