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Common Meals, Noble Feasts: An Archaeological Investigation of Moche Food and Cuisine in the Jequetepeque Valley, Peru

Author(s): Katherine Chiou

Year: 2016

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Summary

In the North Coast of Peru, relatively little is known about the majority of the population that supported the lifestyles of the elite. In this paper, I discuss the concept of a Moche cuisine through a study of the foodways of both elite and commoner classes, drawing on archaeobotanical data from a feasting preparation area located in the elite cemetery of San José de Moro and from a humble household situated near the base of the fortified hilltop settlement of Cerro Chepén. Cuisine can be interpreted as much more than a set of cooking traditions that define a group or groups of people through space and time. It is a cultural construct that incorporates the meanings surrounding the ingredients, the preparation, cooking, and combination of flavors, and the when, where, why, and how of eating, linking foods with a way of life; in essence, cuisine is what sets one culture apart from another and provides a common understanding of what it means to belong to a community. By conceptualizing the common, everyday meal and contrasting it with the opposite extreme—the feast—I examine how food might have played a central role in the creation and negotiation of Moche identity.


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Common Meals, Noble Feasts: An Archaeological Investigation of Moche Food and Cuisine in the Jequetepeque Valley, Peru. Katherine Chiou. Presented at The 81st Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Orlando, Florida. 2016 ( tDAR id: 404218)


Keywords

Geographic Keywords
South America


Spatial Coverage

min long: -93.691; min lat: -56.945 ; max long: -31.113; max lat: 18.48 ;

Arizona State University The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation National Science Foundation National Endowment for the Humanities Society for American Archaeology Archaeological Institute of America