Andean Foodways: Interdisciplinary Approaches to Pre-Columbian and Colonial Food and Culture

Author(s): John Staller

Year: 2016


Pre-Columbian Andean cultures have strong cultural and religious ties to plants and animals in their surrounding landscape. The preparation of food crops and cultigens that sustained life had strong cultural associations to ethnic identity, ritual, and religious practices in the annual cycle. Archaeologists have documented the biological complexity of the Andes and the social importance of feasting, rituals and rites in ancient and colonial societies. Indigenous perceptions and beliefs regarding the natural world were modified by the Spanish conquest and introduction of foreign plants and animals. Contributors explore the roles of food and their cultivation to the political economy and modification of the landscapes and how certain cuisines played a role in ethnic identity, and how specific foods and cuisines were culturally perceived as well as their role in trade networks and social complexity. Archaeological research underscores and emphasizes the importance of foodways and why, how, and when certain plants and animals were consumed in the annual cycle. Contributions to the present session explore and analyze these topics in the context of pre-Columbian and historic Andean culture, with examples of how domesticates, cuisines, their preparations and basic ingredients influence pre-Columbian foodways and regional tastes after the conquest throughout the world.

Cite this Record

Andean Foodways: Interdisciplinary Approaches to Pre-Columbian and Colonial Food and Culture. John Staller. Presented at The 81st Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Orlando, Florida. 2016 ( tDAR id: 404804)

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Geographic Keywords
South America

Spatial Coverage

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