This article explores the materiality of food production and consumption within the household in Bronze Age Cyprus. The focus is on embodied encounters with the “stuff of food”—the pots, pans, and other kitchen implements that were used on a daily basis—and how these shaped people's lives. Throughout the Early and Middle Bronze Ages, generations of families on Cyprus used Red Polished pottery to serve and consume food and drink: the round-bottomed pots were not designed to be laid on a table, indicative of the development of very specific customs of dining at home. The very limited range of pottery (wares and forms) available to the Early-Middle Cypriot householder suggests a monotone cultural experience. The introduction of vessels with flat bases or ring bases at the beginning of the Late Bronze Age might indicate a move to dining around a table—a radically different engagement with the physical, material world that undoubtedly affected social relations. This was accompanied by radical shifts in production practices—a move away from household production into the realm of craft specialists—alongside which there was an explosion in the range of tableware for consumption of food and drink and of utilitarian wares used within the kitchen. This article interrogates the implied transformations in the cultural knowledge embedded within people's engagement with their material world and the very different visual and tactile experiences involved in the daily use of pottery in the Late Bronze Age Cypriot household.
Kitchenalia in Bronze Age Cyprus
Louise Steel is Reader in Mediterranean Archaeology at the University of Wales Trinity Saint David. She has worked extensively in Cyprus, focusing her research on the consumption of Late Bronze Age pottery, and has directed excavations at Aredhiou. Louise is the author of Cyprus Before History: From the Earliest Settlers to the End of the Bronze Age (Duckworth, 2010). Her most recent publication, Materiality and Consumption in the Bronze Age Mediterranean (Routledge, 2012), explores the integration of objects in people's social worlds.
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Louise Steel; Kitchenalia in Bronze Age Cyprus. Gastronomica 1 August 2016; 16 (3): 79–90. doi: https://doi.org/10.1525/gfc.2016.16.3.79
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