Archaeology of Food: An Encyclopedia - Archaeology of Food (Hardback)
  • Archaeology of Food: An Encyclopedia - Archaeology of Food (Hardback)

Archaeology of Food: An Encyclopedia - Archaeology of Food (Hardback)

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Hardback 702 Pages / Published: 07/08/2015
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What are the origins of agriculture? In what ways have technological advances related to food affected human development? How have food and foodways been used to create identity, communicate meaning, and organize society? In this highly readable, illustrated volume, archaeologists and other scholars from across the globe explore these questions and more. The Archaeology of Food offers more than 250 entries spanning geographic and temporal contexts and features recent discoveries alongside the results of decades of research. The contributors provide overviews of current knowledge and theoretical perspectives, raise key questions, and delve into myriad scientific, archaeological, and material analyses to add depth to our understanding of food. The encyclopedia serves as a reference for scholars and students in archaeology, food studies, and related disciplines, as well as fascinating reading for culinary historians, food writers, and food and archaeology enthusiasts.

Publisher: Rowman & Littlefield
ISBN: 9780759123649
Number of pages: 702
Weight: 1842 g
Dimensions: 265 x 183 x 53 mm

Food has always been an essential part of human life and culture; food is not just what provides humans sustenance but is used to celebrate, communicate, and innovate. This set delves into these diverse aspects of the archaeological history of food through more than 240 entries covering various time periods, theories, foodstuffs, and locations and cultures worldwide. Entries with a broad focus, such as Agriculture and Food and capitalism, are longer than most entries and include research from different places, eras, and cultures to provide a wide-ranging context. Entries on specific locations, food items, techniques, and concepts, such as RNA analysis, Fishing, and Jamestown, Virginia, are more narrowly focused and provide great detail on the topic. Each entry includes a see also section to direct readers to related entries and a 'Further Reading' list of important publications on the topic. The two-volume set is easy to navigate, with a thematic table of contents to help readers locate related topics and a detailed index with cross-referencing. Although the archaeology of food is a very specific topic, this encyclopedia is interdisciplinary in order to provide context and comprehensiveness. Therefore, it would serve as a great resource for college-age students in the fields of archaeology, anthropology, food studies, history, sociology, and other related disciplines. * Booklist *
Devoted to `the fundamental connection between food and archaeology,' this two-volume set contains 284 entries written by 236 archaeologists and scholars from around the globe. One of the book's major strengths is that it includes recent discoveries and current scientific methods and technologies alongside the older research. The contributors, especially those who wrote the longer, broader topics, effectively explain how new techniques have changed the thinking on certain topics. For instance, the entry on `bioarchaeological analysis' spans 11 pages, beginning with the first use of the phrase in 1972. This work is interdisciplinary, joining science with the humanities to illustrate how food affects every aspect of life, from nutrition to sense of self, with such entries as `food and gender,' `food and power,' and `food and status.' The topics are arranged alphabetically, and a useful thematic table of contents is also included, which helps readers get a sense of related subjects. There are also numerous tables and figures peppered throughout. Each entry contains its own further reading list. Editors Metheny and Beaudry and contributors have done an admirable job of bringing the science and art of archaeology to food. Verdict: This is a solid introduction with broad appeal for public libraries and undergraduate colleges and universities. * Library Journal *
General awareness of food, cuisines, and food culture has become an integral part of contemporary life, demonstrated by the growing number of podcasts and reality shows dedicated to food, and the popularity of farmers markets and eating local. Archaeologists Metheny and Beaudry invited 236 international scholars to contribute more than 280 entries to this two-volume work. In addition to individual entries on specific foods (coffee, bread, bottle gourd, etc.), readers may investigate techniques (isotope or DNA analysis, infrared spectroscopy, paleofecal analysis), particular sites (Jamestown, Virginia, Franchthi Cave in Greece, Quseir al-Qadim in Egypt), and theoretical approaches to understanding the acquisition, consumption, and role of food in ancient cultures. Arranged alphabetically by topic, essayists emphasize archaeological theory related to social impacts of food, food culture, and agriculture, identifying a solid range of techniques for studying the physical remains of food production and collection in different societies. . . .The new compilation is...designed to serve the current crop of university courses devoted to the archaeological and anthropological study of foodways by offering snapshots-many entries occupying fewer than two pages-on selective topics (e.g., Neanderthal diet, trade routes). Indexes in both volumes facilitate cross-referencing, and limited bibliographies complete each entry. There is a single map of archaeological sites accompanied by 71 figures, mostly black-and-white (but some color) photos, and line drawings. These illustrations range over a diversity of topics of archaeological interest (aurochs' bones, excavated living floors, ancient cooking techniques, and much more). The work will help students writing papers begin to understand the complexity of what may first appear to be a simple subject-the food eaten by peoples of the past. Summing Up: Highly recommended. Students at all levels; general readers. * CHOICE *
This two-volume set provides 284 articles on a wide range of information on topics 'including eras, places, cultural groups, specific foodstuffs, landmark sites, analytical techniques, methodology, pioneers in the field, innovations, theories, issues, controversies, and more.' Scholars from around the world explore the history of food over the last 40,000 years. Whether discussing sweet potatoes or rye, explaining the significance of a Mesolithic site in England, or describing the value of scanning electron microscopy, the entries provide a rich introduction to the archaeological history of food. . . .For students and faculty, or anyone interested in the history of our food, these volumes will provide useful, and often fascinating, information. One nice feature: the contents and index are included in both volumes. * American Reference Books Annual *
This book is an encyclopedia/dictionary with around 250 entries. It takes a broad approach to the subject of archaeology. . . .This book is rich on the interpretation of the finds and goes further in looking at social and economic systems that are affected by food. . . .There is much in this book that will interest the ethnobotanist and the social historian. The book is aimed at the research community, but it is also of general interest. When I did my first degree we had a course on the major agricultural crops that was taught to all the agricultural first years. In the final year those of us doing agricultural botany had a course on tropical crops. Information from this book could have added to those courses. * "American Reference Books Annual" *
A useful encyclopedia for anyone interested in how humans used to eat and how ancient food choices have shaped today's dietary preferences and cultural practices. Entries by eminent scholars cross the globe and span millennia to reveal the reciprocal evolution of humankind and the plants and animals we eat. A stand-out feature is the inclusion of several long entries explaining the history and current thinking about important topics such as the origins of agriculture, the utility of bioarchaeological analysis, and the relevance of past diseases to our understanding of foodways in history. Both the encyclopedia as a whole and the synoptic entries are truly multidisciplinary, integrating archaeological, historical, linguistic, and biological data to ground the reader in the latest research from the field of ancient food studies. -- Kristina Killgrove, University of West Florida

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