Social Dimensions of Food in the Prehistoric Balkans [Hardback]

Maria Ivanova (Editor); Bogdan Athanassov (Editor); Vanya Petrova (Editor); Desislava Takorova (Editor); Philipp W. Stockhammer (Editor)

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ISBN: 9781789250800 | Published by: Oxbow Books | Year of Publication: 2018 | Language: English 386p, H240 x W170 (mm) b/w and colour

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Social Dimensions of Food in the Prehistoric Balkans


Ever since the definition of the Neolithic Revolution by Vere Gordon Childe, archaeologists have been aware of the crucial importance of food for the understanding of prehistoric developments. Numerous studies have classified and described cooking ware, hearths and ovens, have studied food residues and more recently also stable isotopes in skeletal material. However, we have not yet succeeded in integrating traditional, functional perspectives on nutrition and semiotic approaches (e.g. dietary practices as an identity marker) with current research in the fields of Food Studies and Material Culture Studies. This volume brings together leading specialists in archaeobotany, economic zooarchaeology and palaeoanthropology to discuss practices of food production and consumption in their social dimensions from the Mesolithic to the Early Iron Age in the Balkans, a region with intermediary position between and the Aegean Sea on one side and Central Europe and the Eurasian steppe regions on the other side. The prehistoric inhabitants of the Balkans were repeatedly confronted with foreign knowledge and practices of food production and consumption which they integrated and thereby transformed into their life. In a series of transdisciplinary studies, the contributors shed new light on the various social dimensions of food in a synchronous as well as diachronic perspective. Contributors present a series of case studies focused on themes of social interaction, communal food preparation and consumption, the role of feasting, and the importance and management of salt production.

Table of Contents

Introduction: Social dimensions of food
Philipp W. Stockhammer, Bogdan Athanassov and Maria Ivanova
1 ‘Herd’ mentality
László Bartosiewicz and Clive Bonsall
2 Neolithic taboos in Anatolia and southeast Europe
Nerissa Russell
3 Eating out: Food and social context in the Early Neolithic of Greece
Kostas Kotsakis
4 Breath of change: Food and pottery in the course of the Neolithic in northern Greece
Dushka Urem-Kotsou
5 Carcasses, ceramics, and cooking at Makriyalos I: Towards an integrated approach to human diet and commensality in Late Neolithic northern Greece
Valasia Isaakidou and Paul Halstead
6 Painted pottery and culinary practices: Use-alteration analysis of painted pottery from the site of Starčevo-Grad
Olga Bajčev
7 Feasting during the Early Neolithic of the central Balkans: The fauna from Blagotin, Serbia
Haskel J. Greenfi eld and Tina L. Jongsma-Greenfield
8 Of pits and bones: A ritual pit at the late Neolithic site of Sarnevo in Bulgarian Thrace
Krum Bacvarov and John Gorczyk
9 Foraging and food production strategies during the Early Neolithic in the Balkans-Carpathian area. The site of Bucova Pusta in Romanian Banat
Raiko Krauss, Bea De Cupere and Elena Marinova
10 ‘No quern, no food’? Milling technology and the spread of farming in southeast Europe
Maria Ivanova
11 Prehistoric agricultural toolkits in diachronic perspective: A case study from Bulgaria
Maria Gurova
12 Social dimensions of salt in the later prehistory of the eastern Balkans
Vassil Nikolov
13 Salt in European prehistory: Social and economic considerations
Anthony Harding
14 Plant-based food at Chalcolithic and Early Bronze Age Drama, southeast Bulgaria: Continuity and innovations
Ralf Gleser and Elena Marinova
15 Food, status, and power: Animal production and consumption practices during the Carpathian Basin Bronze Age
Amy Nicodemus
16 Plant food from the Late Bronze and Early Iron Age hilltop site Kush Kaya, Eastern Rhodope Mountains, Bulgaria: Insights on the cooking practices
Hristo Popov, Elena Marinova, Ivanka Hristova and Stanislav Iliev
17 Food supply and disposal of food remains at Late Bronze and Early Iron Age Ada Tepe: Bioarchaeological aspects of food production, processing and consumption
Krassimir Nikov, Elena Marinova, Bea De Cupere, Ivanka Hristova, Yana Dimitrova, Stanislav Iliev and Hristo Popov
18 Hunting together: Social aspects of hunting at a 13th–12th century BC fortified site in southwestern Bulgaria
John Gorczyk, Bogdan Athanassov and Philipp W. Stockhammer
19 Where Angel feared not to tread: Anthropometric approaches to food studies in Aegean and Balkan prehistory
Eva Rosenstock and Alisa Scheibner

Reviews & Quotes

"As a single volume, the book is lofty in its aims yet excellent in its execution. It achieves all it sets out to do."
Eric Rowan
Antiquity (05/08/2020)

"[an] exceptional volume… opening wider the gates into the unknown world of the first agriculturists, herders and metallurgists and hopefully will inspire many to bring food studies into their research."
Goce Naumov
Proceedings of the Prehistoric Society (18/03/2019)

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