Session: #359

Theme & Session Format

6. Material culture studies and societies
Session format:
Regular session

Title & Content

Food Cultures in Ancient Societies
Food is a fundamental link that connects people across cultures and generations. Research into food cultures has long since become a key topic of ever increasing importance in social archaeology and cultural anthropology, supported by innovative natural scientific approaches on nutritional values and metabolism. Food production, processing, distribution and consumption are the preconditions for the existence of human life. They shape subsistence on different spatial, temporal and social scales with culinary traditions being one important expression of human livelihood that reflects social identities and social practices.
This session addresses the economic and social relevance of food and food procurement in ancient societies. It aims at exploring the links between the diversity of food choices and changes therein with trends and tendencies in agrarian production and advances in agrarian technology. The session will also focus on past dietary habits in the light of the interaction between humans and food, behavioural variability, social inequality and identity.
We invite contributions that consider different bioarchaeological and food analysis methods, likely combined with studies on the specific expressions of the material culture related to food procurement and food processing, molecular and SEM analyses, micro-wear and microfossil analyses of archaeological artefacts used in food preparation (flint and stone tools), ethnographic studies and experimental archaeological approaches. As food cultures often vary regionally, contributions from all geographic regions and all archaeological periods are welcome. This session is intended to bring together specialists who are using various highly sensitive methods in our search for a better understanding of different food cultures and culinary traditions hidden in the archaeological record.
culinary tradition, food processing and procurement, archaeobotany, material culture, molecular and SEM analyses, micro-wear and microfossil analyses
Session associated with MERC:
Session associated with CIfA:
Session associated with SAfA:
Session associated with CAA:
Session associated with DGUF:
Session associated with other:
CRC 1266 Scales of Transformation, Cluster of Excellence ROOTS


Main organiser:
Lucy Kubiak-Martens (Netherlands) 1
Wiebke Kirleis (Germany) 2
1. Biax Consult, Zaandam
2. Kiel University