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Inside Ancient Kitchens

Inside Ancient Kitchens: New Directions in the Study of Daily Meals and Feasts

Copyright Date: 2010
Pages: 296
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  • Book Info
    Inside Ancient Kitchens
    Book Description:

    The anthropology of food is an area of research in which economic, social, and political dynamics interact in incredibly complex ways. Using archaeological case studies from around the globe, <i>Inside Ancient Kitchens</i> presents new perspectives on the comparative study of prehistoric meals from Peru to the Philippines.<p><p><i>Inside Ancient Kitchens</i> builds upon the last decade of feasting studies and presents two unique goals for broadening the understanding of prehistoric meals. First, the volume focuses on the study of meal preparation through the analysis of temporary and permanent kitchen areas. This move to focus "behind the scenes" is aimed at determining how, where, and by whom meals were financed and prepared. Secondly, data from these preparation contexts are used to differentiate between household-level and suprahousehold-level meals in each case study, resulting in more nuanced typologies of daily meals, feasts, and other food-related events.<p><<p><i>Inside Ancient Kitchens</i> presents an important step in the development of new methodological and theoretical approaches within the anthropology of food and will be of great interest to scholars studying the social dynamics, labor organization, and political relationships underlying prehistoric meals.

    eISBN: 978-1-60732-060-9
    Subjects: Sociology, Archaeology, Anthropology

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-viii)
  3. List of Contributors
    (pp. ix-x)
  4. List of Figures
    (pp. xi-xiv)
  5. List of Tables
    (pp. xv-xvi)
    (pp. xvii-xx)
  7. 1 BEHIND THE SCENES AND INTO THE KITCHEN: New Directions for the Study of Prehistoric Meals
    (pp. 1-16)
    Elizabeth A. Klarich

    Although we regularly participate in the preparation and consumption of large, special meals (e.g., Thanksgiving, wedding receptions, etc.), we often must step outside of familiar settings to observe the subtle social, economic, and political factors at play during these events. In 1995 and 1996, I had the opportunity to live and work in the small Aymara community of Ch’alla Pampa on the Isla del Sol, Bolivia, as a member of the Island of the Sun Archaeological Project. There were approximately eighty families in the community and our project worked closely with representatives from each through a community- regulated turno, or...

    (pp. 17-54)
    Laura Lee Junker and Lisa Niziolek

    At the dawn of European colonization in the mid-second millennium AD, the Philippine islands, like most of Southeast Asia, were inhabited by an eclectic mix of ethnically and linguistically distinct societies ranging from small-scale hunter-gathering bands to what might be termed as ranked tribal societies, to hereditarily stratified chiefdoms like Manila and Cebu, and even to larger-scale Islamic sultanates like the Sulu and Magindanao (Jocano 1975; Junker 1999) (Figure 2.1). Going further back in time to the 1000 BC Metal Age, archaeological evidence for differential distribution of status goods in burials, such as elaborate bronze objects, decorated earthenware, and exotic...

    (pp. 55-82)
    Jason A. Ur and Carlo Colantoni

    A central issue in the study of the earliest states in the Near East has always been the basis for political power, and in particular the mechanism for its restriction to a small group within a much larger society. Because these states formed almost exclusively in well-watered alluvial basins, this basis has been assumed to have been a material one, in the form of control over the animal and plant resources that such an environment could abundantly produce. Further assumptions include the idea that control was highly centralized in the hands of various institutional forms, most often the palace or...

  10. 4 FINE DINING AND FABULOUS ATMOSPHERE: Feasting Facilities and Political Interaction in the Wari Realm
    (pp. 83-110)
    Donna J. Nash

    Recently, Andean archaeologists have stressed that feasts were important events in the development of complex political formations because these events were where relations of power were established, maintained, and renegotiated (Cook and Glowacki 2003; Gero 2001; Janusek 2004). The activity of feasting holds a prominent role in descriptions of political interaction in the Andean past, and thus material remains of these practices should be well represented in the archaeological record. Many kinds of social gatherings documented historically and ethnographically can be considered feasts because they include suprahousehold meal preparation and consumption. The challenge to archaeologists lies in distinguishing among different...

  11. 5 BIG HEARTHS AND BIG POTS: Moche Feasting on the North Coast of Peru
    (pp. 111-132)
    George Gumerman IV

    In the South American Andes the immense Inka (Inca) civilization typically is used as the model for feasting research. The Inka are especially known for their large feasts held at administrative centers where maize beer, or chicha, was consumed in mass quantities (see also Chapter 4, this volume). The state hosted these large affairs for thousands of males who labored for the state by serving in the army, building roads, and farming state fields. In return for their labor they were invited to large-scale, state-sponsored feasts. These feasts were a critical component of Inka state organization; without them it would...

  12. 6 MAYA PALACE KITCHENS: Suprahousehold Food Preparation at the Late and Terminal Classic Site of Xunantunich, Belize
    (pp. 133-160)
    Lisa J. LeCount

    Before the development of haute cuisine in eighteenth-century Italy, courtly food in the noble houses of Europe conformed more to a tradition of extravagant displays than to innovative preparations associated with later cookery (Mennell 1996: 68). Early banquets featured copious amounts of roasted meat and wheat bread, the raw ingredients of which came from local estates. First and foremost, the scale of noble banquets exemplified the power of the king and the splendor of courtly life. Although not trendsetters, cooks prepared both public and private feasts and catered to their patrons’ private whims.

    Much the same can be said of...

  13. 7 FEEDING THE FIRE: Food and Craft Production in the Middle Sicán Period (AD 950–1050)
    (pp. 161-190)
    David J. Goldstein and Izumi Shimada

    Previous publications synthesize the nature of multi-craft interaction and its implications for the organization and operation of interacting technologies and craftspersons at Huaca Sialupe on the North Coast of Peru during the Middle Sicán period (AD 950–1050: Goldstein 2007; Goldstein, Shimada, and Wagner 2007; Shimada and Wagner 2007; Shimada et al. 2003). Here we address craft production from the perspective of domestic economy and subsistence resources. Often discussions of artifact fabrication ignore the fact that people need to produce food to sustain the workshop whether production is year-round or seasonal. Specifically, we use a paleoethnobotanical approach to interpret the...

  14. 8 THE WARI BREWER WOMAN: Feasting, Gender, Offerings, and Memory
    (pp. 191-220)
    William H. Isbell and Amy Groleau

    Wari oversized ceramic offerings and the role of feasting in Wari political organization have been discussed at least since William H. Isbell and Anita Cook (1987) described a cache of some twentyfive giant effigy jars discovered at Conchopata in 1977. They had been broken and buried beside the grave of five young women who may have prepared and served brew to elite guests from the vessels before they were all deliberately sacrificed. This find suggested that drinking bouts and feasts may have been served by young women whose fate included ritual sacrifice, just like the giant effigy vessels that represented...

  15. 9 EXPANDING THE FEAST: Food Preparation, Feasting, and the Social Negotiation of Gender and Power
    (pp. 221-240)
    Arthur A. Joyce

    It was only a few years ago that Brian Hayden (2001: 23–24) lamented the lack of attention to feasting by archaeologists and cultural anthropologists. In less than a decade, however, research on feasting has exploded as a topic of great theoretical and methodological interest in archaeology (e.g., Bray 2003a; Dietler and Hayden 2001a; Junker 1999; LeCount 2001; Mills 2004; Pauketat et al. 2002; Potter 2000; Spielmann 2002). Research on feasting has ranged from considerations of haute cuisines and culinary equipment (Bray 2003b, 2003c; Hastorf 2003; Joyce and Henderson 2007) to the role of feasting in the social construction of...

    (pp. 241-252)
    James M. Potter

    In this chapter I attempt to place the case studies in this volume in some historical perspective by focusing on the ways in which they are unique to the archaeological study of communal meals and commensal politics and on how important they are for setting the stage for future studies of feasting as a social practice. I divide my discussion into the following interrelated themes that thread through the pages of this book: (1) feasting as a social strategy for transforming and reproducing structure; (2) the importance of exploring food preparation in addition to (or even instead of ) food...

  17. INDEX
    (pp. 253-258)