Food and Foodways at Sihó, Yucatán: Understanding Socioeconomic Diversity


In the past as in the present, foodways and cuisine have been expressions of identity and status. Different social strata had different access to natural resources and offer a variety of material expressions related to food, preparation and service, from grinding stones to exquisite art works. In Classic Maya society, some foodstuffs such as cacao, were mentioned and painted in beautiful elite wares, as well as in murals and carvings. At Sihó, Yucatán, archaeological projects developed by the Autonomous University of Yucatán have explored house compounds from different socioeconomic levels, by excavating buildings from range structures to small house foundations. Our results show an important difference in meat consumption between high and middle or low strata, but perhaps surprisingly, there is the presence of cacao in a non-elite compound, showing a complex and rich panorama of food choices. Our goal in this paper is to identify similarities and differences in access to resources and food consumption practices in Siho’s Classic society in order to discuss how these can be related to socio economic stratification and identity. We utilize spot test chemical analysis and starch grain analysis of ceramics and grinding implements from five house compounds to test our hypotheses.

Cite this Record

Food and Foodways at Sihó, Yucatán: Understanding Socioeconomic Diversity. Lilia Fernandez Souza, Mario Zimmermann, Socorro Jiménez Álvarez. Presented at The 81st Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Vancouver, British Columbia. 2017 ( tDAR id: 431235)


Foodways Maya Yucatan

Geographic Keywords

Spatial Coverage

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

Record Identifiers

Abstract Id(s): 15888