Cuisine at the Crossroads

Author(s): Shanti Morell-Hart

Year: 2016


Investigations at sites across Northwestern Honduras-- inside and outside of the Maya area—have uncovered diverse food practices and ingredients. As with other more durable goods, there is evidence of transformation over time, and the movement of elements across the landscape. Some foodways were never adopted in regions where they came to be readily available (considering the general flow of species and materials) while others were quickly adopted but in novel ways. Evidence points toward dynamic overlap between northern and southern societies, with Northwestern Honduras serving as a sort of regional crossroads.

In this paper, I compare cuisines from several ancient communities within and near the Copán area, drawing primarily from a rich archaeobotanical data set that includes both microbotanical and macrobotanical residues. I briefly address the political and historic context of each community, and provide abridged biographies of the main taxa addressed. Of particular interest will be maize, palms, lerén, sweet potato, and manioc, as well as several herbaceous species. I pay close attention to shifts in food traditions, as well as the persistence of certain aspects of cuisine over time, addressing how they are tangled in broader political and economic currents.

Cite this Record

Cuisine at the Crossroads. Shanti Morell-Hart. Presented at The 81st Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Orlando, Florida. 2016 ( tDAR id: 404391)


Geographic Keywords

Spatial Coverage

min long: -107.271; min lat: 12.383 ; max long: -86.353; max lat: 23.08 ;