Until recently, archaeologists have routinely connected a particular object with a certain function and meaning—especially with regard to eating and drinking practices—and have underestimated the transformative power of intercultural encounters. In my article, I explore the dynamic relationship between food “stuffs” and the objects and practices connected with their consumption. Adopting a transcultural perspective, I want to focus on the changeability of the relation between food “stuffs,” objects, and practices and individual objects’ biographies of usage. I will illustrate my methodological approach with case studies from the late second millennium BCE Eastern Mediterranean where objects for food consumption were widely distributed—and have thus far been interpreted as evidence for the spread of certain practices of consumption over the whole region. By analyzing regional processes of appropriation of these objects I will shed light on the astonishing transformations of their functions and meanings.
Past Food for Thought: The Potential of Archaeology
Philipp W. Stockhammer holds a professorship for Prehistoric Archaeology of the Eastern Mediterranean at the Ludwig-Maximilians-University Munich. He received his PhD in Prehistoric Archaeology at Heidelberg University in 2008 and the venia legendi at Basel University in 2013. His research focuses on the Bronze Age and Early Iron Age in Central Europe and the Eastern Mediterranean as well as archaeological theory. He is the head of two large-scale collaborative research projects analyzing the genesis and transformation of the Early Eastern Mediterranean as well as Early Celtic cuisine as a consequence of intercultural entanglements.
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Philipp Stockhammer; Past Food for Thought: The Potential of Archaeology. Gastronomica 1 August 2016; 16 (3): 91–101. doi: https://doi.org/10.1525/gfc.2016.16.3.91
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