Finding Value: Integrating Multiple Datasets to Clarify the Nuances of Past Food Choices

Author(s): Christine A. Hastorf; Melanie Miller

Year: 2021


This is an abstract from the "Thinking about Eating: Theorizing Foodways in Archaeology" session, at the 86th annual meeting of the Society for American Archaeology.

Archaeological studies of ancient foodways focus on understanding subsistence practices in terms of the movement of species over space and time, human/plant/animal strategies, ecological transformations, periods of abundance/famine, economics, and politics. The values that foods are imbued with, the meaning and significance they have in a culture at a particular time, can be more elusive when we are limited to archaeological evidence alone. The Taraco Archaeological Project has been completing research on the shores of Lake Titicaca, Bolivia, for some years. Through that work we have gathered and analyzed a range of data that speak to past food ways, including plant and animal remains, phytoliths, ceramics, and stable isotopes. Building on both indigenous ways of engaging with the local landscape, and our multiple datasets, we will discuss the power of combining data to help us think about past foodways and how these different lines of evidence can begin to illustrate the meanings and values of people’s decisions. In this presentation we will highlight what we have learned about not just the relative importance of foodstuffs through their presence or absence over time but also the values that residents seem to have imbued to these different foods.

Cite this Record

Finding Value: Integrating Multiple Datasets to Clarify the Nuances of Past Food Choices. Christine A. Hastorf, Melanie Miller. Presented at The 86th Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology. 2021 ( tDAR id: 467093)

Spatial Coverage

min long: -82.441; min lat: -56.17 ; max long: -64.863; max lat: 16.636 ;

Record Identifiers

Abstract Id(s): 32288