University of Leicester
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Food and foodways in Roman Britain : a study in contact and culture change.

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posted on 2014-12-15, 10:42 authored by Gillian Hawkes
This thesis explores food and foodways, and changes in foodways over the Roman period; it has two main aims: to develop a methodology for the study of foodways and to apply this methodology to examine the impact of the Roman Conquest on native cultures. The thesis is underpinned by the development of a post-colonially informed theoretical framework. In the first part a methodology is developed which allows three main strands of evidence (pottery, animal bones and botanical remains) to be studied together. The foodways are broken down into different stages: food procurement, preparation, cooking and serving. The methodology is applied to case studies chosen from the area of the Corieltauvi and a representative sample from Southern Britain. Sites were chosen on the basis of the quality of the excavations and the published reports and the presence of all three of the data sets. The published data were reanalysed using SPSS and Excel and recast in the different elements of the meal process. These sites have been divided into broad categories such as rural low status, rural high status and urban. Models were developed to predict foodways for each site category. Results demonstrate the value of the application of the methodology to the analysis of the different data sets together rather than in isolation. The analysis has shown that the meaning of pottery and foodstuffs is not necessarily intrinsic but dependant on their context of use. It has also been established that change is far less common than continuity on most of the sites studied. The conclusions suggest important regional and status differences in the way people engage with food and in the material culture surrounding food.


Date of award


Author affiliation

Archaeology and Ancient History

Awarding institution

University of Leicester

Qualification level

  • Doctoral

Qualification name

  • PhD



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