Archaeobotany and the social context.PDF (537.91 kB)
Archaeobotany and the social context of food.
journal contributionposted on 2009-09-02, 14:23 authored by Carol Palmer, Marijke Van der Veen
The social context of food, rather than the study of subsistence and diet, is currently a key concern within archaeology, and archaeobotanists are increasingly aware of the potential of their data in these debates. Here we review recent archaeobotanical publications in which the social and symbolic meaning of plant remains has been explored. We argue that the context of the plant remains in terms of their archaeological orgin - feature, site, and region - and their relationship to other types of material culture is all important, as deposition is socially and culturally defined. Archaeobotanical data have the potential to help identify social differentiation through feasting, access to luxury foods, and spatial demarcation of food preparation, consumption and disposal. Archaeototanists need to be involved in these debates, ensuring that interpretations are done with a sensitivity to the formation processes and methodological concerns of our data.