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Fine Dining in the Borderlands: Exploring Spanish colonial group identity in Seventeenth-Century New Mexico

Author(s): Caroline Gabe

Year: 2017

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Previous research on seventeenth-century Spanish settlers in New Mexico has concluded that the colonists were composed of a population that blended Spanish and indigenous Puebloan groups genetically and culturally, which is often described as mestizo. However, there is no single, consistently used definition of mestizo or its archaeological expression. Furthermore, defining a population as mestizo ignores individual and household formulations of identity. So, what, if anything, united seventeenth-century Spanish colonizers as a group? This paper uses patterns in material culture to better understand expressions of identity. Eating behaviors are one universal marker of inclusion. They are a way groups delineate boundaries. This paper uses diet, food preparation, and serving techniques as identity proxies. Focusing on the ceramic and faunal assemblages at 13 households dated to the seventeenth century, results point to a more complex view than expected. While known access to Spanish imports and interaction with contemporary households have no statistically significant effect on culinary practices, the socio-economic status influences the proportions and diversity of materials at a household. This implies a possible set of traits tied to group identity, which are in fact a blend of Spanish and Native traditions.

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Fine Dining in the Borderlands: Exploring Spanish colonial group identity in Seventeenth-Century New Mexico. Caroline Gabe. Presented at The 81st Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Vancouver, British Columbia. 2017 ( tDAR id: 429706)


Spatial Coverage

min long: -115.532; min lat: 30.676 ; max long: -102.349; max lat: 42.033 ;

Record Identifiers

Abstract Id(s): 17313

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