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Donald Haggis and colleagues present an overview of agropastoral production, mobilization, processing and consumption of food at Azoria, in eastern Crete, in the article “Commensal Politics and Identity Performance at Azoria an Archaic City on Crete,” a contribution to a new book, Ancient Foodways: Integrative Approaches to Understanding Subsistence and Society in the Past. (Gainesville: The University Press of Florida 2023).

Ancient Foodways. Integrative Approaches to Understanding Subsistence and Society

Edited by C. Margaret Scarry, Dale L. Hutchinson, and Benjamin S. Arbuckle

How archaeology can shed light on past foodways and social worlds

“Shows that integrating subsistence and foodways data is critical for a deeper understanding of the social, cultural, political, and religious implications of the plants and animals people ingest. An important volume.”—Tanya M. Peres, coeditor of Unearthing the Missions of Spanish Florida

Through various case studies, Ancient Foodways illustrates how archaeologists can use bioarchaeology, zooarchaeology, archaeobotany, architecture, and other evidence to understand how food acquisition, preparation, and consumption intersect with economics, politics, and ritual. Spanning four continents and several millennia of human history, this volume is a comprehensive and contemporary survey of how archaeological data can be used to interpret past foodways and reconstruct past social worlds.

This volume is organized around four major themes: feasting and politics; sacrifice, ritual, and ancestors; diet, landscape, and health; and integrative methods. Contributors weave together multiple threads of evidence relating to plants, animals, craft production, and human health and reconnect the material remnants with behaviors, practices, and meanings. The case studies show the varied and creative ways that multiple sources of evidence can be used to shed light on past foodways.

Ancient Foodways demonstrates how environmental and cultural factors shaped past subsistence strategies and cooking practices and reveals the role food played in shaping cultural identity and exchange networks, while also examining how food production methods can lead to environmental destruction and the detrimental role of dietary constraints on human health.

C. Margaret Scarry, professor of anthropology and director of Research Laboratories of Archaeology at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, is the coeditor of Rethinking Moundville and Its Hinterland. Dale L. Hutchinson, professor emeritus of anthropology at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, is the author of American Health and Wellness in Archaeology and History. Benjamin S. Arbuckle, professor of anthropology at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, is coeditor of Animals and Inequality in the Ancient World.

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